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i  PUBLISHERS 


'OUR  FAMOUS  WOMEN. 

AN 

2Uitl)ort?e5  emb  Complete  Becorft 

OF   THE 

LIVES  AND  DEEDS  OF  EMINENT  WOMEN 

OF   OUR   TIMES. 

GIVING  FOB  THE  FIRST  TIME 

THE  LIFE  HISTORY  OF  WOMEN  WHO  HAVE  WON  THEIR  WAY 

FROM  POVERTY  AND  OBSCURITY  TO 

FAME  AND  GLORY. 


REPLETE  WITH 


SJnecliotes,  grilling  Incidents,  anti 


AN  ENTIRELY  NEW  AND  ORIGINAL  WORK 

WRITTEN  BY  THE  FOLLOWING 

TWENTY   DISTINGUISHED   AUTHOES: 


ELIZABETH  STUART  PHELPS. 

HARRIET  BEECHER  STOWE. 

ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD. 

MARION  HARLAND. 

MARY   CLEMMER. 

LOUISE  CHANDLER  MOULTON. 

MRS.  A.  D.  T.  WHITNEY. 

LUCY  LARCOM. 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 
SUSAN  COOLIDGE. 
KATE  SANBORN. 
ELIZABETH   CADY  STANTON. 
LUCIA  GILBERT  RUNKLE. 
LAURA  CURTIS   BULLARD. 
LILIAN  WHITING. 
ELIZABETH   T.  SPRING. 
ELIZABETH   BRYANT  JOHNSTON. 
MAUD  HOWE. 


Illustrated 


WITH  FULL-PAGE   PORTRAITS  MAINLY  FROM  PHOTOGRAPHS  TAKEN  EXPRESSLY 

FOR  THIS  WORK,  AND  FINE  FULL-PAGE  ENGRAVINGS 

FROM   ORIGINAL  DESIGNS. 


-SOLD   ONLY  BY  SUBSCRIPTION. 


HARTFORD,  CONN.: 
THE  HARTFORD  PUBLISHING  COMPANY. 

1888. 


Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1883- 

BY  A.  D.  WORTHINGTON  A1SD  COMPANY, 
in  the  Office  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  Washington.  D.C, 


TO 

fHnr  ant  OTomen 

WHO  HONOR  MAN  AND  WOMAN, 

AND  SEE  THE   SPECIAL  FITNESS  OF 
THIS  BOOK,  TO-DAY, 

IT    IS    DEDICATED. 


PUBLISHEES'  PKEFACE. 


N  these   book-making   days,  a   new  volume   of 
biography  needs,   perhaps,    a    word    of    intro- 
duction to   the   kindly  households   wherein   it 
seeks  a  welcome. 

Probably  no  aspect  of  our  time  is  more  sig- 
nificant of  progress  than  the  ever-growing  dis- 
cussion of  the  place  and  duties  of  women  in 
the  social  state.  Causes  both  economical  and 
moral  have  tended  to  break  up  old  habits  of  life  and 
thought,  and  make  new  demands  upon  their  capacity  and 
conscience,  which  experience  has  not  yet  taught  them  to 
satisfy.  All  over  the  land,  women  are  conscious  of  a  fer- 
ment and  disturbance  of  thought  which  is  the  prophecy  of 
better  things.  Everywhere  they  are  asking,  "  What  can  /do 
to  hasten  the  New  Day  ?  " 

It  seemed,  therefore,  to  the  Publishers  of  this  volume  that 
the  time  had  come  when  the  simple  story  of  what  a  few 
women  have  done  would  prove  an  inspiration  and  incentive 
to  the  many  women  who  long  to  do.  The  book  contains 
thirty  sketches  of  lives,  which,  in  various  ways,  have  made  the 
world  richer  for  their  presence.  Excepting  six,  the  subjects 


vi  PUBLISHERS'  PREFACE. 

of  the  sketches  are  living  and  working.  With  the  natural 
modesty  of  worth,  these  ladies  shrank  from  needless  publicity, 
and  at  first  hesitated  to  allow  the  use  of  their  names.  But 
when  assured  by  the  Publishers  that  the  aim  of  the  book 
was  not  to  gratify  a  vulgar  curiosity,  but  to  kindle  new  hopes 
and  ambitions  in  unknown  hearts,  and  that  it  was  the  story 
of  their  labors,  discouragements,  and  successes  which  was 
desired,  rather  than  of  their  private  joys  and  sorrows,  they 
generously  said  that  if  the  knowledge  of  anything  which  they 
had  done  could  be  of  use  to  other  women,  struggling  for 
Dread,  or  the  right  to  labor,  or  an  honorable  fame,  they 
should  hold  it  churlish  to  refuse.  In  no  case  has  the  name 
of  a  living  person  been  used  without  its  owner's  consent.  In 
almost  every  instance  the  writer  of  the  sketch  is  the  personal 
friend  of  its  subject,  —  a  relation  which  has  insured  an  ex- 
ceptional faithfulness  and  sympathy  in  treatment.  The 
arrangement  of  the  papers  is,  of  course,  purely  arbitrary, 
an  alphabetical  order  having  been  held  the  most  convenient. 

The  Publishers  believe  that  they  may  fairly  call  their  book 
representative.  For  while  there  are  necessarily  omitted 
names  perhaps  as  well-known  and  well-beloved  as  those 
which  appear,  these  thirty  cover  as  wide  a  range  of  endeavor 
and  achievement  as  the  limits  of  the  volume  permit.  That 
the  subjects  of  the  memoirs  are  all  American,  either  by  birth 
or  adoption,  gives  the  book  a  title  to  be  considered  not  less 
national  than  representative. 

The  twenty  women  who  have  contributed  these  sketches 
need  no  commendation.  Their  names  are  a  sufficient  guar- 
antee of  the  volume's  worth.  But  the  Publishers  desire  to 
express  their  sense  of  personal  indebtedness  to  these  co- 
workers  for  the  accuracy,  ability,  and  hearty  good-will  which 
have  made  the  book  better  than  their  hopes. 


PUBLISHERS'   PREFACE.  yii 

In  the  mechanical  execution  of  the  work,  the  Publishers 
take  an  honest  pride.  They  have  spared  neither  money  nor 
trouble  to  make  it  worthy  of  the  subject-matter.  Its  por- 
traits represent  the  best  work  of  the  best  workers,  and  the 
likenesses  are  as  faithful  as  the  execution  is  artistic. 

Finally,  the  Publishers  venture  to  hope  that  they  have  not 
misconceived  the  temper  of  the  time,  and  that  to  every  one 
of  the  thousands  of  homes  which  the  book  may  enter,  it  will 
bring  something  of  the  courage,  patience,  steadfastness  of 
purpose,  cheerfulness,  and  lofty  aspiration  which  fill  the  lives 
whose  history  it  records. 


NAMES   OF   AUTHORS 


WHO  HAVE  WRITTEN  FOR  THIS  WORK, 


WITH  A  LIST  OF  THEIR  SUBJECTS. 


SUBJECTS. 
AUTHORS. 

HARRIET  BEECHER  STOWE (  Cathenne  E.  Beecher. 

\  Mrs,  A.D.T.  Whi 


HOSE  TERRY  COOKE  '  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe' 


Whitney*'' 

\  Harriet  Prescott  Spofford.' 
Rose  Terry 


HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD 


Clara  Louise  Kellogg. 
Louise  Chandler 
Mary  L.  Booth. 


ELIZABETH  STUART  PHELPS    .........   Mafy  ^  Livermore^ 

a 
Lcc*  LAECOM 

MES.A'.D.T.WH.TKEY 


L,,cy 

(Margaret  Fuller. 
Frances  E.  Willard. 
Mary  Virginia  Terhune 

("  Marion  Harland"). 

Loom  OHun,™  MOOLTO.  .........  Lovis*  M.  Alcott. 

MARY  CLEMMER  .  , 

.........   Lucretia  Mott. 

MARY  A.  LIVERMORE  .    .  A        „„  .  . 

•    •     ......   Anne  Whitney. 

MARIOS  HARLAND  .    . 

...........   Elizabeth  Prentiss. 


NAMES  OF  AUTHORS.  1* 

AUTHORS.  SUBJECTS. 

SUSAN  COOLIDGE Lydia  Maria  Child. 

f  T7ie  Doctors  Blackwell. 

LUCIA  GILBERT  RUNKLB |  Mary  Mapes  Dodge. 

[  Abby  Hopper  Gibbons. 

JULIA  WARD  HOWE Maria  Mitchell. 

ELIZABETH  CADY  STANTON Susan  B.  Anthony. 

LAURA  CURTIS  BULLARD Elizabeth  Cady  Stanton. 

(Mary  Clemmer.  ' —  * 
Charlotte  Cushman. 

ELIZABETH  T.  SPRING •  Elizabeth  Stuart  Phelps. 

ELIZABETH  BRYANT  JOHNSTON •   Frances  Hodgson  Burnett. 

MAUD  HOWB  .  Julia  Ward  Howe.^ 


LIST  OF 

OUR   FAMOUS   WOMEN," 

IN  THE  ORDER  IN  WHICH 

THEIR  LIVES  ARE  SKETCHED  IN  THIS  WORK, 
WITH  THE  NAMES  OF  THE  WRITERS. 


SUBJECTS.  WRITERS.                                        PAGE 

LOUISA  M.  ALCOTT Louise  Chandler  Moulton    ....  29 

SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY Elizabeth  Cady  Stanton 53 

CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER     ....    Harriet  Beecher  Stowe 75 

CLARA  BARTON Lucy  Larcom 94 

MARY  L.  BOOTH Harriet  Prescott  Spofford    ....  117 

THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL  ....    Lucia  Gilbert  Runkle 134 

FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT  .    .    .  Elizabeth  Bryant  Johnston      ...  152 

ROSE  TERRY  COOKE Harriet  Prescott  Spofford    ....  174 

CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN Lilian  Whiting 207 

LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD Susan  Coolidge 230 

MARY  CLBMMBR Lilian  Whiting 250 

MARY  MAPES  DODGE Lucia  Gilbert  Runkle 270 

MARGARET  FULLER Kate  Sanborn     ........  295 

ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS Lucia  Gilbert  Runkle 316 

JULIA  WARD  HOWE Maud  Howe 337 

CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGQ     ....  Harriet  Prescott  Spofford    ....  359 

MARY  A.  LIVERMORE Elizabeth  Stuart  Phelps 386 

LUCY  LARCOM Mrs.  A.  D.  T.   Whitney 415 


LIST  OF  "OUR  FAMOUS  WOMEN."  xi 

SUBJECTS.  WRITERS.  PAGE 

MARIA  MITCHELL Julia  Ward  Howe 437 

LUCRETIA  MOTT Mary  Clemmer ^62 

LOUISE  CHANDLER  MOULTON  .    .    .  Harriet  Prescott  Spofford    ....  498 

HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD    .    .  Rose  Terry  Cooke 521 

ELIZABETH  PRENTISS  ......  "Marion  Harland" 539 

ELIZABETH  -STUART  PHELPS    .    .    .  Elizabeth  T.  Spring    ......  560 

HARRIET  BEECHER  STOWE  ....  Rose  Terry  Cooke -581 

ELIZABETH  CADY  STANTON  ....  Laura  Curtis  Bullard 602 

V 

MARY  VIRGINIA  TERHUNE  ....  Kate  Sanborn 624 

("Marion  Harland.") 

MRS.  A.  D.  T.  WHITNEY    ....  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe 652 

ANNE  WHITNEY Mary  A.  Livermore 668 

FaANCfiS  E.  WILLARD Kate  Sanborn      . 691 


LIST 

OF 

PORTRAITS  AND  ILLUSTRATIONS, 


THESE  PORTRAITS  WERE  ENGRAVED  MAINLY  FROM  PHOTOGRAPHS  TAKEN  EXPRESSLY 

FOR  THIS  WORK,  AND  THE  FULL-PAGE  ENGRAVINGS  ARE   FROM   ORIGINAL 

DESIGNS  BY  MR.  T.  W.  WILLIAMS. 


PAGK. 

1.  ILLUSTRATED  TITLE-PAGE .    .    .     To  precede  Title. 

2.  PORTRAIT  OF  LOUISA  M.  ALCOTT To  face    30 

3.  A   PROUD   MOMENT  — Miss  ALCOTT  DISCOVERING  THE  AN- 

NOUNCEMENT OF  "  BERTHA  " ,,  38 

4.  How  Miss  ALCOTT  WRITES  HER  STORIES „  38 

5.  PORTRAIT  OF  CLARA  BARTON „  96 

6.  SCENES  IN  THE  LIFE  OF  CLARA  BARTON  —  HOSPITAL  SUPPLIES 

ON  THE  WAY  TO  ANTIETAM „  104 

7.  THE  DYING  REBEL'S  WARNING „  104 

8.  WRITING  LETTERS  FOR  THE  SOLDIERS „  104 

9.  MIDNIGHT  AFTER  THE    BATTLE  OF  CHANTILLY  —  THE  DYING 

BOY „  104 

10.  CLARA  BARTON  ENTERING  STRASBURG  WITH  THE  GERMAN  ARMY  ,,  112 

11.  THE  BANNER  OF  THE  RED  CROSS n  H2 

12.  AN  INCIDENT  IN  THE  STUDENT  LIFE  OF  DR.  ELIZABETH  BLACK- 

WELL— AN  ACTUAL  SCENE  IN  THE  OPERATING  ROOM  OF  A 

MEDICAL  COLLEGE „  142 

13.  THE  WOMEN'S  HOSPITAL  AND  INFIRMARY,  NEW  YORK  CITY  .    .  „  142 

14.  PORTRAIT  OF  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE „  176 

15.  PORTRAIT  OF  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN ,  208 

16.  PORTRAIT  OF  MARY  CLEMMER ,,  252 

17.  SCENES  AT  THE  BATTLE  OF  MARYLAND  HEIGHTS  — THE  RE- 

TREAT      n  264 

18.  PORTRAIT  OF  MARY  MAPES  DODGE „  278 

19.  WRECK  OF  THE  SHIP  "  ELIZABETH  "  AND  DEATH  OF  MARGARET 

FULLER,  HER  HUSBAND  AND  CHILD 314 


LIST  OF  PORTRAITS  AND  ILLUSTRATIONS.  xiii 

20.  CHRISTIAN  WORK  AMONG  CONVICTS  AND  FELONS— MRS.  GIB- 

BONS VISITING  A  CONDEMNED  MURDERER  IN  HIS  CELL  AT 

THE  NEW  YORK  TOMBS To  face  320 

21.  CASTAWAY  CHILDREN  —  CHILD-LIFE  IN  CITY  STREETS    ....  „         320 

22.  THE  REIGN  OF  TERROR  DURING  THE  DRAFT  RIOTS  IN  NEW 

YORK  —  THE  INFURIATED  MOB  ATTACKING  MRS.  GIBBONS' 

HOUSE tt         332 

23.  THE  TOMBS,  THE  CITY  PRISON >f          333 

24.  PORTRAIT  OF  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE „         388 

25.  MRS.    LIVERMORE   TRANSPORTING   TWENTY-THREE   WOUNDED 

SOLDIERS    TO   THEIR   HOMES    IN  THE    NORTHWEST  —  THE 

STEAMBOAT  CAPTAIN'S  THREAT M         400 

26.  THE  MISSISSIPPI  STEAMER,    "FANNY  OGDEN,"  ON  HER  WAY 

WITH  SANITARY  SUPPLIES  FOR  SUFFERING  SOLDIERS    ...  „         400 

27.  A  THRILLING  INCIDENT  OF  CHICAGO  LIFE  —  THE  NIGHT  SUM- 

MONS FOR  MRS.  LIVERMORE 408 

28.  AT  THE  BEDSIDE  OF  THE  DYING  GIRL 408 

29.  NURSING  SOLDIERS  IN  UNION  HOSPITALS „         408 

30.  PORTRAIT  OF  LUCY  LARCOM „          416 

31.  SCENES  IN  THE  LIFE  OF  LUCY  LARCOM  —  THE  LITTLE  DOFFER  .  „          428 

32.  PIONEER  LIFE  IN  ILLINOIS  —  TEACHING  SCHOOL  IN  A  "  TWO- 

MILE  NEIGHBORHOOD  " M         428 

33.  PORTRAIT  OF  MARIA  MITCHELL n         438 

34.  PORTRAIT  OF  LUCRETIA  MOTT „          464 

35.  LUCRETIA  MOTT  SURROUNDED  BY  A  MOB  —  A  RUFFIAN'S  PRO- 

TECTION       „         484 

36.  PORTRAIT  OF  LOUISE  CHANDLER  MOULTON „         500 

37.  PORTRAIT  OF  HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD „          522 

38.  PORTRAIT  OF  ELIZABETH  STUART  PHELPS „         562 

39.  SUMMER  LIFE  BY  THE  SEA „          574 

40.  AN  INCIDENT  IN  THE  LIFE  OF  ELIZABETH  STUART  PHELPS  — 

"  THIMBLE  OR  PAINT  BRUSH,  WHICH  ?  " „         574 

41.  PORTRAIT  OF  HARRIET  BEECHER  STOWE „          594 

42.  BROUGHT  TO  BAY  —  A  RUNAWAY  SLAVE  TRACKED  BY  BLOOD- 

HOUNDS        ,,         594 

43.  UNCLE  TOM  AND  LITTLE  EVA ,,          594 

44.  PORTRAIT  OF  MARIA  VIRGINIA  TERHUNE  (Marion  Harland)  .     .  ,,          626 

45.  PORTRAIT  OF  MRS.  A.  D.  T.  WHITNEY „          654 

46.  PORTRAIT  OF  FRANCES  E.  WILLARD ,          692 

47.  LOCKED  OUT  —  THE  PRAYING  BAND  PRAYING  IN  THE  STREET 

AT  THE  DOOR  OF  A  SALOON ,,             704 


CONTENTS. 


I. 

LOUISA    MAY    ALCOTT. 

BY  LOUISE  CHANDLER  MOULTON. 

PAGE 

Amos  Bronson  Alcott  —  His  Early  Life  —  The  **  Sage  of  Concord  "  — 
Louisa  M.  Alcott  —  Girlhood  Days  —  High  Talk  and  Low  Diet 
—  Her  First  Story  —  A  Very  Stage-Struck  Young  Lady—  End 
of  Her  Dreams  of  Dramatic  Glory  —  Seeking  Her  Own  For- 
tune—Toilsome Years  —  Story  -Writing  —  Advised  to  "Stick 
to  Teaching  "  —  Hospital  Nurse.  —  Shattered  Health  —  Her 
First  Book  —  How  "  Little  Women"  Came  to  be  Written  —  Fame 
and  Fortune  at  Last  —  Amusing  Requests  —  An  Extraordinary 
Effusion  —  Miss  Alcott's  Portrait  of  Herself  at  Fifteen  —  Miss 
Alcott  at  Fifty  —  Incidents  —  Precious  Memories  —  Methods  of 
Work  —  An  Old  Atlas  for  a  Desk  —  How  She  Plans  Her  Stories  .  29 


ii, 
SUSAN    B.    ANTHONY. 

BY  ELIZABETH  CADY  STANTON. 

Susan  B.  Anthony's  Parentage  —  Her  Girlhood  —  A  Rebellious  Qua- 
ker —  Incident  in  Her  Early  Life  —  The  Heighth  of  Her  Ambition 

—  A   "High-Seat''   Quaker  —  Incident  in  Her  Experience    as 
Teacher  —  Advocating  Temperance,  Anti-Slavery,  and  Woman 
Suffrage  —  Her  Facility  and  Power  as  an  Orator  —  Speaking  to  a 
Deaf  and  Dumb  Audience  —  Incident  on  a  Mississippi  Steamboat 

—  Celebrating  Her  Fiftieth  Birthday  —  Trip  to  Europe  —  Inci- 
dents of   Foreign  Travel  —  Arrested  for  Voting  —  The   Legal 
Struggle  that  followed  —  Her  Labors  for  Woman  Suffrage  —  Her 
Industry  and  Self-denial  for  the  Cause  —  Personal  Appearance    .     53 


XVI  CONTENTS. 

(Ctmptcv  ill. 
CATHERINE    E.    BEECHER. 

BY   HARRIET   BEECHER    STOWE. 

PAGE 

A  Leaf  from  Dr.  Lyman  Beecher's  Diaiy  —  The  Old  Parsonage  at 
Litchfield  —  Miss  Beecher's  Early  Education  —  Her  Keen  Sense 
of  Humor  —  A  Sprightly  Poem  —  Lines  Written  on  the  Death  of 
Her  Mother  —  Her  First  Published  Poems  —  4'  Who  is  this  C.  D. 
D.  ?"—  Engagement  to  Prof.  Alexander  M.  Fisher  —  Bright 
Prospects  for  the  Future  —  Prof.  Fisher  Sails  for  England  —  Ship- 
wreck of  the  "  Albion  "  and  Death  of  Prof.  Fisher  —  The  Sur- 
vivor's Narrative  of  the  Shipwreck  —  Effect  of  the  Distressing 
News  —  Miss  Beecher  Establishes  the  Hartford  Female  Seminary 
—  Her  Energy  and  Incessant  Activity  —  Last  Years  of  Her  Life  — 
Her  Death  —  Lines  Written  to  a  Dying  Friend  .......  75 


iv. 

CLARA    BARTON. 

BY  LUCY  LARCOM. 

Clara  Barton's  Early  Life  —  A  Faithful  Little  Nurse  at  Eleven  — 
Devotion  to  Her  Sick  Brother  —  Breaking  Out  of  the  Civil  War 
—  Her  Loyalty  and  Devotion  to  the  Union  —  The  Old  Sixth  Mas- 
sachusetts Regiment  —  First  Blood  Shed  for  the  Union  —  Miss 
Barton's  Timely  Services  —  Consecrating  Her  Life  to  the  Soldiers' 
Needs  —  At  the  Front  —  Army  Life  and  Experiences—  Her  Un- 
daunted Heroism  —  Terrible  Days  —  Errands  of  Mercy—  "  The 
Angel  of  the  Battlefield  "  —  Instances  of  Her  Courage  and  Devo- 
tion—Narrow Escapes—  Her  Labors  for  Union  Prisoners  — 
Record  of  the  Soldier  Dead  —  Dorrance  At  water  —  Work  After 
the  War  —  Her  Visit  to  Europe  —  The  Franco-Prussian  War  — 
At  the  Front  Again  —  Unfurling  the  Banner  of  the  Red  Cross  — 
Record  of  a  Noble  Life  ........  94 


CONTENTS.  XVii 

©feapter  v. 
MARY    LOUISE    BOOTH. 

BY   HARRIET   PRESCOTT   SPOFFORD. 

PAGE 

A  Woman  of  Rare  Intellect  —  Childhood  of  Maiy  Louise  Booth  — 
An  Indefatigable  Little  Student  —  Beginning  of  Her  Literary 
Life  —  A  Great  Historical  Work  —  Breaking  Out  of  the  Civil 
War  —  Miss  Booth's  Sympathy  with  the  North  —  Her  Anxiety  to 
Help  the  Cause  —  How  She  did  it  —  A  Prodigious  Task  —  "  It 
Shall  be  Done  "  —  Marvellous  Industry  and  Perseverance  — 
Charles  Sumner's  Friendship  —  A  Letter  of  Thanks  from  Abraham 
Lincoln  —  Assuming  the  Management  of  "  Harper's  Bazaar  "  — 
A  Signal  Success  —  A  Model  Paper  —  Miss  Booth  s  Home  —  True 
Hospitality  —  Pen-portrait  of  a  Gifted  Woman  .......  117 


vi. 
THE    DOCTORS    BLACKWELL. 

BY  LUCIA   GILBERT   RUNKLE. 

Early  Home  of  the  Blackwell  Sisters  —  "  Little  Shy  "  —  Her  Indom- 
itable Pluck  and  Wonderful  Physique  —  A  Feat  Showing  Her 
Strength  —  Death  of  Her  Father  —  Struggle  of  the  Family  with 
Misfortune  and  Poverty  —  Elizabeth  Begins  the  Study  of  Medi- 
cine —  How  She  Acquired  Her  Professional  Education  —  Sur- 
mounting Great  Difficulties  —  Some  of  Her  Experiences  as  a 
Medical  Student  —  Graduates  with  High  Honor  —  First  Medi- 
cal Diploma  ever  Granted  to  a  Woman  —  A  Proud  Moment  in 
Her  Life  —  Her  Sister,  Emily  Blackwell  —  Her  College  Life  — 
Battling  Against  Opposition  —  Final  Success  —  Her  Studies 
Abroad  —  The  Two  Sisters  Establish  Themselves  in  Practice  in 
New  York  —  Founding  the  Woman's  Hospital  and  College  .  134 


yn. 
FRANCES    HODGSON    BURNETT. 

BY   ELIZABETH    BRYANT  JOHNSTON. 

Mrs  Burnett's  English  Home  —  Tales  of  Her  Childhood  —Emigra- 
tion to  America  —  A  Helpless  Family  in  a  Strange  Land  —  The 
2 


xviii  CONTENTS. 

PAOE 

Struggle  for  Subsistence  —  Incidents  of  Her  Girlhood  —  Sym- 
pathy for  the  Poor  —  How  She  Acquired  Her  Knowledge  of 
English  Dialect— The  Original  "Lass  o'  LowrieV  -First 
Literary  Efforts  —  Seeking  a  Publisher  —  Devising  Ways  and 
Means  — Diplomacy  — A  Day  of  Triumph  and  Happiness  — 
"  Who  is  She  ?  "  —  Life  at  Mt.  Ararat  —  Revisiting  England  — 
Her  Washington  Home  —  A  Thrilling  Incident  at  Long  Branch 
—  A  Heroine  in  Real  Life  —  Mrs.  Burnett's  Personal  Appearance  .  152 


©fcaptev  vin. 

ROSE    TERRY    COOKE. 

BY   HARRIET   PRESCOTT   SPOFFORD. 

Rose  Terry  Cooke's  Ancestry  —  Her  Description  of  an  Old-Fash- 
ioned Thanksgiving  —  Scenes  in  Her  Childhood  —  A  Picture  of 
Old  New-England  Life  —  Her  Deep  Love  of  Nature  —  Passion 
for  Flowers— School  Life  — Reading  at  the  Age  of  Three - 
Inimitable  Skill  in  Depicting  New-England  Life  and  Character 

—  Her  Bright  Humor  and  Keen  Sense  of  the  Ridiculous  —  Begin- 
ning Her  Literary  Career  —  Opening  of  Her  Genius  —  A  Novel 
Incident  in  Plymouth  Church  —  The  Story  of  an  Opal  Ring  — 
How  a  Little  Slave-Child  was  made  Free  —  A  Romantic  Story 

—  Odd  Experiences  with  Impostors  and  Counterfeiters  —  Mrs. 
Cooke's  Home  and  Domestic  Life  — A  Woman  of  Rare  Genius  .  174 


1X. 
CHARLOTTE     CUSHMAN. 

BY  LILIAN  WHITING. 

Charlotte  Cushman's  Childhood  —  Her  Remarkable  Imitative  Faculty 
— First  Appearance  on  the  Stage  —  A  Scanty  Stage  Wardrobe  — 
A  Friend  in  Need  —  An  Amusing  Experience  —  The  Struggle  for 
Fame  —  Macready's  Sympathy  and  Influence  —  First  Visit  to 
Europe  —  "  Waiting  in  the  Shadow  "  —  D6but  in  London  —  A 
Brilliant  Triumph  —  Her  Ability  Recognized  at  Last  in  Her 
Native  Land — Glimpse  of  Her  Life  in  Rome  —  Unfaltering 
Patriotism  —  Her  Munificent  Gift  to  the  Sanitary  Commission  — 
—  The  Culmination  of  Her  Power  —  A  Notable  Dramatic  Tri- 
umph —  Her  Farewell  to  the  Stage  —  Address  of  William  Cullen 
Bryant  —  Miss  Cushman's  Response  —  Her  Illness,  Death,  and 
Last  Resting-Place , 207 


CONTENTS.  xix 


X. 
LYDIA    MARIA    CHILD. 

BY  SUSAN   COOLIDGE. 

PAGE 

The  Little  Maid  of  Medford  —  Her  Early  Life  and  Happy  Mar- 
riage —  Books  She  has  Written  —  Surprise  and  Indignation  ex- 
cited by  Her  "  Appeal"  —  The  Battle  of  Life  —  Rowing  against 
the  Tide  —  Her  Patience,  Fortitude,  and  Reliance  —  Stirring 
Times  —  Devotion  to  Her  Husband  —  Life  at  Wayland  —  Her 
Bright  Humor  —  Her  Sympathy  for  Old  John  Brown  —  Mrs. 
Mason's  Violent  Letter  —  Mrs.  Child's  Famous  Reply  —  She  is 
Promised  a  "  Warm  Reception  "  —  Her  Loyalty,  Self-Denial,  and 
Work  during  the  Civil  War  —  Princely  Generosity  —  Serene  Old 
Age  —  Death  of  Her  Husband  —  Mrs.  Child's  Tribute  to  His 
Memory  —  Waiting  and  Trusting  —  Her  Death  and  Funeral  .  230 


xi. 

MARY    CLEMMED. 

BY  LILIAN  WHITING. 

Mary  Clemmer's  Ancestry  —  Pen-portraits  of  Her  Father  and  Mother 

—  Her  Childhood  —  School-life  and  Early  Education  —  Publishing 
Her  First  Verses  —  Beginning  Her  Literary  Career  —  Removal 
to  New  York  —  First  Newspaper  Letters  —  Marvellous  Industry 
and  Capacity  for  Work  —  Contracting  to  Write  a  Column  a  Day 
for  Three  Years  —  A  Chapter  from  Her  Experiences  During  the 
War  —  Vivid  Description  of  the  Surrender  of  Maryland  Heights 

—  Her  Journalistic  Work  —  How  she  Gathers  Materials  for  "A 
Woman's  Letter  from  Washington  "  —  Charles  Sumner's  Friend- 
ship —  A  Busy  Life  —  Tribute  to  the  Memory  of  Alice  and  Phoebe 
Gary  —  Mary  Clemmer's  Washington   Home      ......  250 


xn. 

MARY    MAPES    DODGE. 

BY  LUCIA  GILBERT  RUNKLE. 

New  York  Society  Forty  Years  Ago  —  Prof.  James  J.  Mapes  —  An 
Ideal  Home  —  Genuine  Hospitality  —  Mary  Mapes  Dodge  —  Her 


XX  CONTEXTS. 

PAGE 

Two  Boys  — What  First  Turned  Her  Attention  to  Writing  — 
First  Workshop  —  A  Cosy  "  Den  "  —  Birthday  Feasts  for  Jamie 
and  Harry  —  A  Birthday  Poem  —  Red-letter  Days  —  How  "  Hans 
Brinker,  or  the  Silver  Skates,"  came  to  be  Written  —  Merited 
Reward  —  Mrs.  Dodge's  Remarkable  Editorial  Capacity  —  Her 
Clear  Insight  and  Sound  Judgment  —  Editing  "  St.  Nicholas  "  — 
A  Model  Magazine  for  Children  —  Who  and  What  Makes  it  So 
—  The  Care  and  Labor  Bestowed  upon  Each  Number  —  Mrs. 
Dodge's  Home  Life  and  Happy  Surroundings 276 


xin. 

MARGARET  FULLER. 

(MARCHIONESS  D'OSSOLI). 
BY  KATE   SANBORN. 

Conflicting  Opinions  —  An  English  Estimate  of  Margaret  Fuller  — 
Her  Childhood  and  School-life  — Her  Life  as  Seen  by  Others  — 
A  Peep  at  Her  Journal  —  An  Encounter  with  Doctor  Channing  — 
Emerson's  Opinion  —  Wonderful  Power  as  a  Converser  —  Her 
Great  Ambition  —  The  Influence  She  Exerted  —  Horace  Greeley's 
Friendship  —  Connection  with  the  "New  York  Tribune"  — 
"  Alone  as  Usual "  —  Visits  Europe  —  Noted  Men  and  Women  of 
the  Time  —  Harriet  Martineau's  Opinion  —  The  Great  Change 
in  Miss  Fuller's  Life  —  Her  Romantic  Marriage  in  Italy  —  Ter- 
rible Trials  —  Homeward  Bound  —  Shipwrecked  on  the  Shores  of 
Her  Native  Land  —  Last  Scenes  in  Her  Life  .  .  .295 


©totter  xiv. 
ABBY     HOPPER    GIBBONS. 

BY  LUCIA   GILBERT  RUNKLE. 

"  Father  Hopper's  "  Work  Among  Convicts  and  Felons  —  First  Sun- 
day Services  in  a  Jail  — Abby  Hopper's  Girlhood  —  Following  in 
the  Footsteps  of  Her  Father  —  Her  Work  Among  the  Inmates  of 
the  New  York  Tombs  —  The  "Isaac  T.  Hopper  Home"  — The 
School  for  Street  Children  —  The  Waifs  and  Strays  of  Randall's 
Island  — Charity  Children  — An  Appeal  for  Dolls  —  Generous 
Response  —  Affecting  Incident  — The  Story  of  Robert  Denyer 


CONTENTS.  xxi 

PAGE 

—  Mrs.  Gibbons'  Work  During  the  War  —  Nursing  Union 
Soldiers  —  The  Draft  Riots  in  New  York  —  An  Exciting  Time  — 
Attacking  Mrs.  Gibbons'  House  —  Havoc  and  Devastation 
Wrought  by  the  Mob  —  Work  After  the  War  —  A  Noble  Life  .  .  316 


xv. 
JULIA    WARD     HOWE. 

BY  HER  DAUGHTER,  MAUD  HOWE. 

"Little  Miss  Ward"  —  The  Influences  that  Surrounded  Her  Early 
Life  —  Her  Education  —  Her  Faculty  for  Acquiring  Languages  — 
'  'Bro.  Sam"—  Miss  Ward's  First  Visit  to  Boston  —  Meets  Dr. 
Samuel  G.  Howe  —  Her  Marriage  —  Wedding  Trip  to  the  Old 
World  —  Cordial  Reception  by  Famous  People  —  Declining  Tom 
Moore's  Offer  to  Sing  —  Reminiscences  of  European  Travel  — 
Her  Patriotism  in  the  Days  of  the  Rebellion  —  "  Madame,  You 
Must  Speak  to  My  Soldiers  "  —  Writing  the  Battle-Hymn  of  the 
Republic  —  The  '*  Brain  Club  "  —  A  Many-sided  Woman  — 
Mrs.  Howe  as  a  Public  Speaker  —  Reminiscences  of  Her  Life  in 
Santo  Domingo  —  A  Woman  of  Genius  and  Intellect  ....  337 


xvi. 
CLARA    LOUISE     KELLOGG. 

BY  HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD. 

Clara  Louise  Kellogg's  Birth  and  Parentage  —  Girlhood  and  Early 
Education  —  Her  Extraordinary  Musical  Genius  —  Its  Early 
Development  —  Intuitive  Knowledge  of  Tone  and  Pitch  —  Mar- 
vellous Execution  —  Patient  Study  and  Unwearied  Devotion  to 
Her  Art  —  Beginning  of  Her  Career  —  An  Unusual  Compliment 
at  Rehearsal  —  First  Trial  in  Opera  —  Her  Debut  —  Carrying 
the  Audience  Captive  —  Wild  Enthusiasm  —  Triumphant  Suc- 
cess —  Verdict  of  the  Critics  —  Visits  Europe  —  Debut  in  Lon- 
don —  A  Brilliant  and  Enthusiastic  Audience  —  Acknowledged 
to  be  the  Queen  of  Song  —  Return  to  America  —  Reception  in 
New  York  —  Triumphal  Tours  —  Her  Charity  and  Kindness  — 
Personal  Appearance  and  Characteristics  .........  359 


XX11  CONTENTS. 


xvn. 
MARY    A.    LIVERMORE. 

BY   ELIZABETH   STUART   PHELPS. 

PAGE 

Mrs.  Livermore's  Ancestry  —  Stories  of  Her  Childhood  —  The  Little 
Minister  —  Her  Marriage  —  Journalistic  Experiences  —  The 
War  of  the  Rebellion  —  Her  Loyalty  and  Devotion  to  the  Union  — 
The  Northwestern  Sanitary  Commission  —  Army  Experiences  — 
Incidents  of  Hospital  Life  —  Wonderful  Nerve  and  Ready 
Resources  in  Emergencies  —  A  Remarkable  Achievement  — 
Mighty  Work  for  Union  Soldiers  —  Their  Love  and  Reverence 
for  Her  —  "  Mother  "  to  them  All  —  Touching  Story  of  a  Soldier's 
Ring  —  A  Thrilling  Incident  of  Chicago  Life  —  An  Errand  of 
Mercy  —  Terrible  Death-Bed  Scene  —  Labors  after  the  War  — 
Her  Christian  Life  and  Influence  —  Work  as  a  Reformer  —  Fame 
as  an  Orator  —  Personal  Appearance  —  Home  Life  —  A  Grand 
and  Noble  Woman  ................  386 

©feapler  xvni. 
LUCY     LARGO  M. 

BY   MRS.   A.  D.  T.  WHITNEY. 

A  Happy  Name  —  Lucy  Larcom's  Childhood  —  First  Literary  Ven- 
ture —  Removal  of  the  Family  to  Lowell  —  Lucy's  Mill  Life  — 
The  Little  "Doffer"  —  A  Glimpse  of  the  Daily  Life  of  a  Lowell 
Mill  Girl  —  The  Lowell  "  Offering  "  —  First  Meeting  with  the 
Poet  Whittier  —  His  Lifelong  Friendship  —  Removal  to  Illinois  — 
Pioneer  Life  —  Teaching  a  Real  •«  Deestrick  "  School  —  Incidents 
in  Her  Life  as  Teacher  —  Mysterious  Disappearance  of  one  of 
Her  Pupils  —  An  Amusing  Incident  —  Return  to  Old  New 
England  —  Work  as  Teacher  in  Wheaton  Seminary  —  Her 
Loyalty  During  the  War  —  Editing  "  Our  Young  Folks  ".  .  415 

©teprter  xix. 
MARIA    MITCHELL. 

BY  JULIA  WARD   HOWE. 

Miss  Mitchell's  Nantucket  Home  —  Her  Ancestors  —  "  Poor  but 
Happy  "  -Her  Early  Life  —  Her  Father's  Love  for  Astronomy  - 
How  She  Obtained  Her  Education  —  Unwearied  Devotion  to  her 


CONTENTS.  XXlll 

PA«E 

Studies  —  A  Great  Event  in  Her  Life  —  Discovers  a  Telescopic 
Comet  —  Claiming  the  Prize  Offered  by  the  King  of  Denmark  — 
Difficulty  in  Obtaining  it  —  Edward  Everett's  Efforts  in  Her 
Behalf —  Final  Recognition  of  Her  Claim  —  Receives  the  Gold 
Medal  from  the  Danish  King  —  Her  Fame  Abroad  —  Visiting  the 
Old  World  —  Entertained  and  Honored  by  Distinguished  Scien- 
tists —  Her  own  Account  of  Some  of  Them  —  Amusing  Experi- 
ences —  Interesting  Incidents  —  Her  Life  and  Daily  Work  .  .  .  437 


©Trailer  XX. 
LUCRETIA     MOTT. 

BY  MARY   CLEMMER. 

A  Rare  Example  of  Womanhood  —  Ancestry  of  Lucretia  Mott  —  The 
Women  of  Nantucket  —  Celebrating  the  Fourth  of  July  —  A 
Nantucket  Tea-party  —  Lucretia  Mott's  Marriage  —  A  Marvel- 
lously Mated  Pair  —  A  Perfect  Wedded  Life  of  Fifty-seven  Years 
—  Power  as  a  Preacher  —  Abhorrence  of  Slavery  —  How  the 
Colored  People  Revered  Her  Name  —  Surrounded  by  a  Mob  — 
Claiming  and  Receiving  Protection  from  a  Ruffian  —  Daunt- 
less Bravery  —  Reception  in  England  —  Mrs.  Mott's  Domestic 
Life  —  Devotion  to  Her  Children  —  Her  Thrift,  Industry,  and 
Economy  —  Her  Home  a  Refuge  for  Runaway  Slaves  —  The 
Meeting-place  of  Reformers  —  Last  Years  of  Her  Life  —  A  Great 
Philanthropist,  Great  Preacher,  and  Perfect  Woman  .....  462 


xxi. 
LOUISE    CHANDLER    MOULTON. 

BY   HARRIET  PRESCOTT   SPOFFORD. 

A  Charming  Woman  —  Mrs.  Moulton's  Parentage  —  Influences  that 
Surrounded  Her  Childhood  —  Rigid  New  England  Training 
—  Girlhood  and  School  Days  —  First  Literary  Efforts  —  Pub- 
lication of  Her  First  Book  —  Letters  to  the  New  York 
"  Tribune  "  —  First  Visit  to  Europe  —  Impressions  of  the  Old 
World  —  Paris  —  Rome  —  Pictures  of  Italian  Life  —  Venice  — 
Cordial  Reception  in  London  —  Honors  Shown  by  Distinguished 
People  —  Flattering  Attention  —  Delightful  Experiences  —  How 
Her  Book  of  Poems  was  Received  in  London  —  High  Praise 
from  Eminent  Critics  —  A  Famous  Traveller  —  Her  Personal 
Appearance  —  Her  Charm  of  Manner  —  A  Gifted  and  Popular 
Woman  ,  .  ,  .498 


XXIV  CONTENTS. 


xxn. 
HARRIET    PRESCOTT    SPOFFORD. 

BY   ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

PAGE 

Mrs.  Spofford's  Parentage  —  Anecdotes  of  Her  Childhood  —  A  Novel 
Expedition  —  Girlhood  Days  —  Writing  Dramas  for  School  Exhi- 
bition —  First  Literary  Efforts  —  Brilliant  Debut  —  The  Story 
that  First  Made  Her  Famous  —  How  it  was  Received  —  The 
Commotion  it  Created  —  Wonderful  Command  of  Language  — 
Newburyport  and  its  Surroundings  —  A  City  by  the  Sea  — 
Some  of  its  Odd  People  —  A  Locality  Justly  Famed  for  its  Noted 
Persons  —  Old  Traditions  and  Associations  —  Amusing  Anecdote 

—  Why  the  Colored  Woman  Named  Her  Baby  Genevieve  instead 
of  Harriet  —  Mrs.  Spofford's  Present  Home  —  A  Romantic  Spot 

—  Genuine  Hospitality  —  A  Charming  New  England  Home    .     .  521 

©Tmpler  XXI  II. 
ELIZABETH     PRENTISS. 

BY  MARION  HARLAND. 

Childhood  of  Elizabeth  Payson  —  Her  Parentage  —  Death  of  Her 
Father  —  The  Struggle  with  Adversity  —  A  Glimpse  of  Her  Life 
at  Nineteen  —  "  The  Night  Before  Thanksgiving  "  —  Fond- 
ness and  Facility  for  Writing  —  Preparing  to  Become  a  Teacher 

—  Early  Religious  Experiences  —  Marriage  to  Rev.  Dr.  Prentiss 

—  Wife  and  Mother  —  Mrs.  Prentiss'  First  Books  —  A  Peep  into 
Her  Domestic  Life  —  Cares  of  a  Pastor's  Wife  —  Ill-health  and 
Suffering  —  Patience  in   Affliction  —  Marvellous   Industry  and 
Courage  —  Writing  under  Difficulties  —  How  "  Stepping  Heaven- 
ward "    was    Written  —  Its    Wonderful   Sale  —  Fortitude   and 
Resignation  of  a  Noble  Christian  Woman     ........  539 


xxiv. 
ELIZABETH    STUART    PHELPS. 

BY  ELIZABETH   T.   SPRING. 

Elizabeth  Stuart  Phelps'  Ancestry  —  Her  Childhood  —  The  Old 
Home  at  Andover  —  Her  Story-telling  Faculty  —  Improvising 
Stories  for  Her  Schoolmates  —  Her  Education  —  Pen-portrait  of 


CONTENTS.  XXV 

PAGE 

Miss  Phelps  at  Sixteen  —  Memories  of  the  War  —  An  Unwritten 
Story  —  An  Incident  in  Her  School-life — "Thimble  or  Paint- 
brush, Which?"  —  First  Literary  Ventures— The  Abbott  Mis- 
sion—  "The  Gates  Ajar"  —  Its  Enormous  Sale  and  Helpful 
Influence  —  Miss  Phelps  as  a  Lecturer  —  Power  Over  Her  Audi- 
ences —  Her  Summer  Home  by  the  Sea  —  Her  Winter  Study  — 
Interest  in  Reform  Movements  —  Personal  Work  Among  the 
Fishermen  —  The  Strength  of  Her  Writings 560 


xxv. 

HARRIET    BEECHER    STOWE. 

BY  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

Mrs.  Stowe's  Father,  Rev.  Dr.  Lyman  Beecher  — His  Fame  and  Worth 

—  His  Wife,  Roxanna  Foote  —  Mrs.  Stowe's   Early  Training  — 
Incidents  in  Her  Childhood  —  A  Famous  School  —  Reminiscences 
of  Her  Girlhood  —  Early  Passion  for  Writing  —  Marriage  to  Prof. 
Calvin  E.  Stowe  —  Life  on  the  Banks  of  the  Ohio  —  Where  and 
How  She  Received  Her  First  Impressions  of  Slavery  —  What 
Led  to  the   Writing   of  "  Uncle  Tom's   Cabin "  —  Difficulties 
Under  Which  it  was  Written  —  How  it  was  Received  —  Excite- 
ment it  Created  —  Mrs.  Stowe's  Visit  to  England  —  Her  Recep- 
tion—The True  Stcry  of  "A  Vindication  of  Lady  Byron "- 
Celebrating  Mrs.   Stowe's   Seventy-first    Birthday  — Her    Two 
Homes  —  Looking  Toward  the  Other  Side  of  Jordan     ....  581 

©Txaptcr  xxvi. 
ELIZABETH     CADY    STANTON. 

BY  LAURA  CURTIS  BULLARD. 

George  Sand's  Inquiry  —  Mrs.  Stanton  as  the  Originator  of  the 
Woman  Suffrage  Movement  —  Birth  and  Parentage  —  Early 
Sympathies  with  Ill-treated  Women — Tries  to  be. a  Boy — 
Studies  Law  in  Her  Father's  Office  —  Her  Marriage  and  Wed- 
ding Tour  —  Meets  Lucretia  Mott,  and  Decides  upon  a  Future 
Career  —  Calls  the  First  Woman  Sum-age  Convention  —  Fred- 
erick Douglass  Her  only  Helper  —  Effect  of  the  Convention  — 
Progress  of  the  Movement  —  Lectures  and  Addresses  —  Edits 
"The  Revolution"  — Travels  in  France  and  England  —  Wit 

—  Anecdotes  —  Personal    Appearance    and    Characteristics  — 
Future  of  the  Cause  602 


xxvi  CONTENTS. 


XXVII. 
MARY    VIRGINIA    TERHUNE. 

("MARION   HARLAND.") 

BY    KATE   SANBORN. 

PAGE 

A  Popular  Fallacy  —  "  Marion  Harland  "  —  A  Versatile  and  Successful 
Author  —  A  Visit  to  Her  Home  —  Her  Domestic  Life  —  A  Peep 
into  Her  Kitchen  —  An  Inviting  Place  —  Her  Husband,  Rev.  Dr. 
E.  P.  Terhune  ;  the  Man  and  His  Power  —  Characteristic  Letter 
from  "Marion  Harland"  —An  Interesting  Bit  of  Autobiography 
—  Her  Own  Account  of  Her  Early  Life  —  Reminiscences  of  Her 
Girlhood  —  Her  First  Book  —  Its  Marked  Success  —  Career  as  a 
Novelist  —  A  New  Departure  —  Her  "  Cookery  Books  "  —  Their 
Enormous  Sale  —  A  Boon  to  Housekeepers  —  Her  Love  for  Little 
Folks  —  What  She  says  about  Santa  Glaus  —  Sound  Advice  to 
Girls  and  Wise  Words  for  Wives  —  A  Gifted  and  Famous 
Woman  ....................  624 


xxvni. 
MRS.   A.    D.   T.   WHITNEY. 

BY  HARRIET   BEECHER   STOWE. 

The  Influence  of  Good  Literature  in  the  Formation  of  Character  — 
Mrs.  A.  D.  T.  Whitney  —  Her  Childhood  —  Early  Life  and  Sur- 
roundings —  Memories  of  Good  Old  Days  —  Her  Education  and 
Religious  Training  —  Marriage  —  Faculty  for  Portraying  Do- 
mestic Life  —  Why  She  Excels  in  Painting  Perfect  Homes  — 
Books  She  has  Written  —  Selections  from  Her  Poems  —  Sympa- 
thy with  Young  People  —  Gaining  an  Insight  into  Practical 
Questions  —  The  Sparkle  and  Humor  of  Her  Writings  —  The 
Soundness  of  their  Teachings  —  Their  Great  Influence  for  Good 
—  Comparison  between  Her  Books  and  Miss  Edgeworth's  —  Ex- 
tracts Illustrating  their  Religious  Tendencies  .......  652 


xxi  x. 

ANNE    WHITNEY. 

BY   MARY  A.    LIVERMORE. 

Anne  Whitney's  Girlhood  —  School  Days  —  Testimony  of  One  of  Her 
Teachers  —  Her  Literary  Talents  —  Book  of  Poems  —  The  Cir- 


CONTENTS.  xxvii 

PAGE 

cumstance  that  turned  Her  Thoughts  to  Art  —  An  Interesting 
Incident—  Beginning  Her  Work  in  Sculpture  —  First  Attempts 
—  Marvellous  Skill  —  Her  Statue  of  "  Godiva  "  —  Attention  it 
Attracted  —  "  Africa  "  —  "  The  Lotus- Eater"  —  Studies  and 
Travels  Abroad  —  "  Roma  "  —  "  A  Thinking  Statue"  —  Com- 
mission from  the  State  of  Massachusetts  —  Statue  of  Samuel 
Adams  —  Miss  Whitney's  Studio  —  Devotion  to  Her  Art  —  Work 
that  will  Endure  ....  .  .  60S 


©Irapte*  xxx. 

FRANCES    E.    WILLARD. 

BY   KATE   SANBORN. 

An  After-dinner  Speech  —  An  Amusing  Incident  —  A  Southern 
Clergyman's  Opinion  —  Miss  Willard's  Ancestry  —  Memories  of 
Childhood's  Days  —  Scenes  from  the  Past  —  Amusing  Extract 
from  Her  Diary  —  Her  Keen  Sense  of  Humor  —  Climbing  the 
Pyramids  —  "  Genteel  "  Gymnastics  —  "  Paul  Tucker,  of  New 
York,  Aged  18J  "  —  Miss  Willard's  Life- Work  —  Delivering  Her 
First  Lecture  — A  Genuine  Sensation  —  Enlisting  in  the  Tem- 
perance Work  —  Liberality  and  Sense  of  Justice  —  Religious 
Nature  —  Specimen  of  Her  Oratory  —  Marvellous  Command  of 
Language  —  Experiences  in  the  South  —  A  Southern  Welcome 
—  How  She  is  Appreciated  at  Home  —  Universally  Loved, 
Honored,  and  Respected 691 


"  It  is  an  ungenerous  silence  which  leaves  all  the  fair 
words  of  honestly-earned  praise  to  the  writer  of  obituary 
notices,  and  the  marble  worker" 

OLIVER  WENDELL  HOLMES, 


OUR   FAMOUS    WOMEN. 


CHAPTER  I. 
LOUISA    MAY    ALCOTT. 

BY  LOUISE  CHANDLER  MOULTOK 

Amos  Bronson  Alcott  — His  Early  Life  — The  "  Sage  of  Concord  "  —  Louisa 
M.  Alcott—  Girlhood  Days  —  High  Talk  and  Low  Diet—  Her  First  Story 

—  A  Very  Stage-Struck  Young  Lady  —  End  of  Her  Dreams  of  Dramatic 
Glory —  Seeking  Her  Own  Fortune  —  Toilsome  Years  —  Story- Writing  — 
Advised  to  "  Stick  to  Her  Teaching  "  —  Hospital  Nurse  —  Shattered  Health 

—  Her  First  Book  — How  "Little  Women"  Came  to  be  Written  — Fame 
and  Fortune  at  Last  —  Amusing  Requests  —  An  Extraordinary  Effusion  — 
Miss  Alcott' s    Portrait  of  Herself  at  Fifteen  — Miss  Alcott  at  Fifty- 
Incidents  —  Precious  Memories  —  Methods  of  Work  —  An  Old  Atlas  for  a 
Desk  —  How  She  Plans  Her  Stories  —  Where  They  are  Written. 

N  writing  of  an  author  still  living,  and  still  busily 
at  work,   there  is  always  a  certain  difficulty. 
We  are  too  near  at  hand  for  perspective,  and 
too  much  under  the  spell  of  a  sympathetic  per- 
sonality to  be  able  to  anticipate  the  judgments 
of  posterity.     Our  utmost  endeavor,  then,  must 
be  to  make  the  world,  so  far  as  possible,  sharers 
in  the  pleasure  of  personal  intercourse  with  a 
gifted  and  remarkable  woman,  and  to  gratify  to  some 
extent  the  general  curiosity  about  a  general  favorite. 
In  the  literature  of  our  own  country  and  time  there  are 
few  more  picturesque  figures  than  Louisa  May  Alcott ;  since 
we  must  consider  not  only  her  own  distinguished  achievement, 
but  also  the  surroundings  of  her  life.     Unless  heredity  were 


30  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

a  word  without  a  moaning  the  world  had  a  right  to  expect 
much  of  Miss  Alcott  by  virtue  of  inheritance,  and  the  highest 
of  these  expectations  she  has  certainly  fulfilled. 

Her  father,  Amos  Bronson  Alcott,  the  "  Sage  of  Concord," 
as  he  has  often  been  called,  is  not  less  widely  known  than  his 
distinguished  daughter.  He  came  of  a  good  old  New  Eng- 
land stock,  his  ancestors  having  been  among  the  earliest 
settlers  of  the  town  of  Wolcott,  Conn.,  where  Mr.  Alcott 
himself  was  born,  in  1799.  Wolcott  was  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  wooden  clocks,  and  while  still  a  schoolboy  Mr. 
Alcott  worked,  in  his  vacations,  at  clock-making.  After  he 
left  school  came  a  season  of  peddling,  with  alternations  of 
school-teaching ;  and  through  those  years  a  half-formed  pur- 
pose of  entering  the  ministry  of  the  Episcopal  church  had 
some  influence  on  his  studies  and  his  life.  By  the  time  he 
was  twenty-six,  however,  the  young  philosopher — who  was 
afterwards  to  be  so  closely  connected  with  the  great  Trans- 
cendental movement  in  New  England — had  discovered  that 
he  was  not  called  to  the  ministry,  and  had  get  himself  to 
the  task  of  reforming  the  prevailing  methods  of  early  edu- 
cation. 

He  first  began  the  development  of  his  educational  ideas  in 
Cheshire,  Conn.,  but  in  1828,  at  the  age  of  twenty-nine,  he 
was  invited  to  take  charge  of  a  school  for  young  children  in 
Boston  by  certain  persons  who  had  seen  and  admired  the 
working  out  of  his  ideas  in  Cheshire. 

In  1830  he  married  Miss  May,  a  daughter  of  Col.  Joseph 
May,  and  a  descendant  of  the  Sewells  and  the  Quincys  of 
Boston.  I  have  heard  that  the  May  family  were  strongly 
opposed  to  the  union  of  their  beautiful  daughter  with  the 
penniless  teacher  and  philosopher.  But  love  found  out  a 
way  to  soften  their  opposition  ;  and  the  poverty  of  plain  liv- 
ing and  high  thinking  had  no  terrors  for  the  petted  child  of 
the  prosperous  Boston  merchant.  Tall  and  slight,  fair,  blue- 
eyed,  and  delicate,  she  was  yet  strong  enough  to  resolve  and 
to  do,  this  gently-nurtured  young  lady,  of  whom  her  hus- 
band long  afterwards  wrote  :  — 


LOUISA    M.    ALCOTT. 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  33 

"  Mean  are  all  titles  of  nobility 
And  kings  poor  spendthrifts,  while  I  do  compare, 
The  wealth  she  daily  lavishes  on  me 
Of  love  —  the  noble  kingdom,  that  I  share." 

This  auspicious  marriage  took  place  in  King's  Chapel,  Bos- 
ton, in  the  month  of  May  —  fit  time  for  these  happy,  tune- 
ful, improvident  young  lovers  to  pair.  In  November  of  the 
same  year  they  removed  to  Germantown,  Perm.,  where  Mr. 
Alcott  opened  a  school,  which  he  continued  for  four  years. 

It  was  in  Germantown,  November  29,  1832,  that  Louisa 
May  Alcott  was  born.  Concerning  this  date  she  writes  :  "  I 
was  born  on  the  29th  of  November.  The  same  day  was  my 
father's  own  birthday,  that  of  Christopher  Columbus,  Sir 
Philip  Sidney,  Wendell  Phillips,  and  other  worthies." 

Until  I  began  to  retrace  her  history  for  the  purpose  of  this 
brief  biography,  I  had  always  supposed  that  Miss  Alcott  had 
been  born  in  Concord  —  that  town  with  which  she  is  so  in- 
timately associated  in  the  minds  of  us  all.  I  fancied  she 
might  even  herself  have  been  the  child-sage  whom  the 
stranger  in  Concord  saw  digging  in  the  soil,  and  accosted 
with  the  question,  "  What  are  you  doing,  my  pretty  maid?" 
"  Digging  for  the  infinite ,"  was  the  unexpected  answer ;  and 
all  Concord  seems  to  me  to  have  been  digging  for  the  infinite 
for  two  or  three  generations.  Miss  Alcott,  however,  has 
been  rather  the  exception  to  this  Concordian  habit.  She 
has  contented  herself  with  the  study  of  the  finite,  which  she 
has  pursued  to  such  purpose  that  she  has  given  more  lively 
and  more  living  characters  to  juvenile  literature  than  any 
other  author  of  her  time.  Perhaps  she  escaped  the  fate  of  a 
philosopher  by  being  born  in  Germantown,  and  not  going  to 
Concord  until  she  was  eight  years  old. 

Her  first  remove  from  Germantown  was  to  Boston,  where, 
in  1834,  Mr.  Alcott  opened  a  school  in  the  Masonic  Temple, 
which  Miss  Peabody  described  in  her  book,  entitled  "  Record 
of  Mr.  Alcott's  School,"  first  published  in  1835.  This  "  Rec- 
ord of  a  School "  would  be,  in  itself,  sufficient  to  prove  Mr. 
Alcott's  claim  to  a  high  place  in  the  ranks  of  the  world's  edu- 


34  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

cators.  He  knew,  at  that  time,  little  or  nothing  of  the 
theories  of  Pestalozzi,  yet  his  own  were  always  kindred,  and 
sometimes  the  same. 

Miss  Peabody,  herself  a  distinguished  educator,  once  said 
to  me,  "I  would  never  say  to  a  child,  f  You  have  a  soul,'  but 
rather,  'You  have  a  body,'  since  the  real  ' you'  is  the  inde- 
structible soul."  Proceeding  upon  this  principle,  Mr.  Alcott 
addressed  himself  to  the  spiritual  nature  of  his  pupils.  He 
substituted  appeals  to  their  moral  instincts  and  their  affec- 
tions for  un discriminating  punishments,  and  sought  rather  to 
awaken  in  them  a  thirst  for  knowledge  than  to  force  them  at 
the  point  of  a  ferule  to  acquire  it. 

Concerning  this  school,  Mr.  Frank  B.  Sanborn  has  written 
that  it  failed  in  consequence  of  a  public  outcry  against  cer- 
tain opinions,  supposed  to  be  inculcated  in  a  remarkable  book, 
entitled  "  Conversations  with  Children  on  the  Gospels,"  which 
Miss  Peabody  compiled  from  Mr.  Alcott's  daily  talks  with 
his  pupils,  and  which  was  clamorously  assailed  by  the  Boston 
newspapers.  Their  unjust  criticisms  drew  forth  a  public 
defence  from  Mr.  Emerson,  who  began  by  saying,  "  In  behalf 
of  this  book  I  have  but  one  plea  to  make, —  this,  namely,  let 
it  be  read." 

In  1837  Mr.  Alcott  removed  the  school  from  the  Masonic 
Temple  to  his  own  house  ;  and  after  that  removal  committed 
the  still  further  enormity  of  showing  his  readiness  to  admit 
little  colored  children  to  share  the  instruction  bestowed  on 
the  inheritors  of  the  blue  blood  of  Boston.  Finally,  in  1839, 
the  philosopher  abandoned  school-keeping,  and,  in  1840, 
removed  to  Concord. 

If  I  seem  to  have  dwelt  too  long  on  the  early  history  of 
the  serene  Sage  of  Concord  it  is  because  the  importance  of 
such  a  parentage  cannot  be  overestimated,  and  I  think  Louisa 
Alcott  experienced  her  first  supreme  good  fortune  in  being 
the  daughter  of  her  father  and  her  mother. 

I  like  to  think  of  her  as  she  was  when,  at  eight  years  of 
age,  she  went  to  live  in  Concord,  first  at  the  Hosmer  Cottage, 
and  afterwards  at  "  The  Wayside,"  Hawthorne's  old  home,  at 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  35 

present  so  fitly  occupied  by  fair  Rose  Hawthorne  Lathrop  and 
her  gifted  husband.  After  the  Hawthorne  house  came  the 

o 

episode  of  "Fruitlands,"  in  Harvard,  Mass.,  where  Mr.  Al- 
cott  took  his  family  to  live,  with  a  few  congenial  souls,  in  a 
sort  of  community,  on  high  talk  and  low  diet.  This  was  the 
experience  which  Miss  Alcott  afterwards  described  so  vividly 
in  «  Transcendental  Wild  Oats."  After  "Fruitlands"  came 
a  short  residence  in  Boston,  and  then  the  Alcott  family  went 
back  to  congenial  Concord,  to  pass,  in  their  home  called 
"The  Orchards,"  the  twenty-five  fullest  and  most  active  years 
of  Miss  Alcott's  over-active  life.* 

As  I  have  said,  I  love  to  picture  to  myself  the  girl  of  eight, 
unusually  tall,  and  so  lithe  and  active  that  even  before  she 
left  Boston  she  could  drive  a  hoop  entirely  round  the  "  Com- 
mon "without  once  stopping, — able  to  run  faster  than  most 
boys,  and  therefore  always  welcome  to  share  their  sports. 
After  her  father  left  off  school-teaching  she  went  no  more  to 
school,  but  studied  at  home.  She  learned  religion  from 
Nature,  and  the  high  example  of  virtuous  parents,  who 
literally  loved  their  neighbors  better  than  themselves,  and  in 
the  pure  atmosphere  of  whose  daily  life  it  was  impossible 
that  anything  small  or  mean  should  thrive. 

Her  literary  ambition  was  of  early  origin.  At  eight  years 
of  age  she  perpetrated  her  first  literary  attempt,  in  the  shape 
of  the  following  :  — 

ADDRESS    TO    A    ROBIN". 

"  Welcome,  welcome,  little  stranger, 
Fear  no  harm,  and  fear  no  danger ; 
We  are  glad  to  see  you  here, 
For  you  sing  sweet  spring  is  near. 
Now  the  snow  is  nearly  gone, 
Now  the  grass  is  coining  on  — 
The  trees  are  green,  the  sky  is  blue, 
And  we  are  glad  to  welcome  you." 

"This  gem,"  said  Miss  Alcott,  "my  proud   mother   pre- 
served with  tender  care,  assuring  me  that  if  I  kept  on  in  this 
hopeful  way  I  might  be  a  second  Shakspeare  in  time." 
3 


36  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

Fired  by  this  modest  and  laudable  ambition,  she  continued 
to  write  poems  upon  dead  butterflies,  lost  kittens,  the  baby's 
eyes,  and  other  kindred  themes,  until,  suddenly,  the  story- 
telling mania  set  in,  and  the  world  began  to  be  peopled  for 
her  with  ideal  shapes.  For  a  long  time  she  only  frightened 
her  sisters  by  awful  tales  whispered  in  bed.  It  makes  one 
think  of  those  other  sisters  in  the  Moorlands  of  Yorkshire, 
who  used  to  sit  and  "  make  up  "  stories  round  the  fire,  when 
the  sun  had  set,  and  the  shadows  haunted  the  corners,  and 
they  drew  close  together  in  the  shadow-casting  firelight. 

After  a  while  Louisa  began  to  write  out  these  histories  of 
giants,  and  ogres,  and  dauntless  maidens,  and  magic  transfor- 
mations, till  the  children's  room  at  the  Wayside  had  quite  a 
library  of  small  paper-covered  volumes,  illustrated  by  their 
author. 

Later  on,  the  poems  grew  sad  and  sentimental,  and  the 
tales  less  tragic,  lovely  elves  and  spirits  of  earth  and  air  tak- 
ing the  place  of  the  former  monsters. 

At  sixteen  Miss  Alcott  wrote,  for  Ellen  Emerson's  pleas- 
ure, her  first  book.  It  was  entitled  "Flower  Fables."  It 
was  afterwards  published,  but  not  until  1854,  when  Miss 
Alcott  was  twenty-two.  It  made  no  marked  impression,  its 
dainty  fancies  being  obscured  by  too  many  adjectives,  and  its 
illustrations  so  bad  as  to  be  anything  but  an  adornment. 

At  sixteen,  besides  writing  "Flower  Fables,"  Miss  Alcott 
began  to  teach  a  little  school  of  some  twenty  pupils,  to  whom 
she  told  her  stories  instead  of  writing  them.  She  says  that 
she  never  liked  teaching ;  though,  in  one  way  or  another,  she 
pursued  it  for  some  fifteen  years  —  sometimes  teaching  home- 
schools,  sometimes  going  out  as  daily  governess.  Among 
her  pupils  in  those  years  she  numbered  the  children  of  E.  P. 
Whipple,  E.  E.  Apthorpe,  John  T.  Sargent,  J.  S.  Lovering, 
and  many  others.  Story-telling  time,  she  says,  was  the  one 
pleasant  hour  in  her  school-day ;  and  even  now  she  meets 
from  time  to  time  the  young  men  and  women  who  had  the 
happiness  to  be  her  pupils  in  those  old  days,  and  finds  that 
they  still  recall  her  tales  and  laugh  over  them  afresh  with 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  37 

their  children,  when  some  of  them  reappear  in  new  forms  in 
her  many  books. 

Miss  Alcott's  first  full-grown  romantic  story  was  printed 
in  "  Gleason's  Pictorial,"  and  for  this  tale  she  received  five 
dollars.  Ah,  who  of  us  scribes  does  not  remember  the  pride 
and  pleasure  with  which  we  received  our  first  five  dollars 
earned  by  literature ;  and  why  is  a  beginner's  recompense 
always  five  dollars,  no  more,  no  less?  This  first  published 
story  appeared  in  1851,  when  Miss  Alcott  was  nineteen.  The 
next  year  she  sent  to  the  "Boston  Saturday  Evening  Gazette" 
rr  The  Rival  Prima  Donnas,"  which  was  accepted,  and  munifi- 
cently, as  it  then  seemed,  rewarded  with  ten  dollars,  and  a 
request  for  more.  Nor  was  this  all ;  for  Miss  Alcott  herself 
dramatized  the  tale,  and  it  was  accepted  by  Mr.  Thomas 
Barry,  then  manager  of  the  Boston  Theatre.  The  play  was 
never  really  put  upon  the  stage,  owing  to  a  disagreement 
about  the  distribution  of  the  parts  between  Mrs.  Barrow  and 
Mrs.  John  Wood,  then  rival  actresses  at  "The  Boston."  In 
spite  of  this  mischance,  however,  its  author  considered  it  a 
transcendent  success ;  since,  for  its  sake,  a  free  pass  was 
given  her,  and  she  went  to  the  theatre  forty  times  that  winter. 
Think  of  the  unmitigated  rapture  of  those  forty  evenings  to 
a  very  stage-struck  young  lady  ! 

So  strong,  indeed,  was  Miss  Alcott's  passion  at  that  time 
for  acting  that  she  made  an  engagement  to  appear  upon  the 
stage  herself  as  Widow  Pottle,  in  "  The  Jacobite,"  and  was 
anxiously  waiting  for  the  night  to  be  fixed,  when  the  friendly 
manager  broke  his  leg,  and  in  consequence  his  contract,  and 
thus  came  to  an  untimely  end  the  young  girl's  dream  of 
dramatic  glory. 

A  farce  of  her  composition  was,  however,  actually  put  upon 
the  stage,  and  she  tells  me  that  she  well  remembers  the  wild 
beating  of  her  heart  as  she  sat  on  this  glorious  occasion  in  a 
stage  box,  holding  an  enormous  bouquet,  presented  by  a 
friend  as  stage-struck  as  herself;  and  saw  Mrs.  W.  H.  Smith, 
Josie  Orton,  and  Mr.  LeMoine  enact  "Nat  Bachelor's  Pleas- 
ure Trip,"  for  the  benefit  of  Mrs.  Smith. 


38  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

"  The  Rival  Prima  Donnas  "  afforded  Miss  Alcott  another 
glimpse  of  glory,  which  she  herself  described  as  follows  :  — 

"  One  of  the  memorial  moments  of  my  life  is  that  in  which, 
as  I  trudged  to  school  on  a  wintry  day,  my  eyes  fell  upon  a 
large  yellow  poster  with  these  delicious  words  :  '"  Bertha,"  a 
new  tale  by  the  author  of  "  The  Rival  Prima  Donnas,"  will 
appear  in  the  "  Saturday  Evening  Gazette."  '  I  was  late  ;  it 
was  bitter  cold ;  people  jostled  me ;  I  was  mortally  afraid  I 
should  be  recognized  ;  but  there  I  stood  feasting  my  eyes  on 
the  fascinating  poster,  and  saying  proudly  to  myself,  in  the 
words  of  the  great  Vincent  Crummies,  f  This,  this  is  fame  !  * 
That  day  my  pupils  had  an  indulgent  teacher  ;  for,  while  they 
struggled  with  their  pot-hooks,  I  was  writing  immortal  works, 
and  when  they  droned  out  the  multiplication  table,  I  was 
counting  up  the  noble  fortune  my  pen  was  to  earn  for  me  in 
the  dim,  delightful  future.  That  afternoon  my  sisters  made 
a  pilgrimage  to  behold  this  famous  placard,  and  finding  it 
torn  by  the  wind,  boldly  stole  it,  and  came  home  to  wave  it 
like  a  triumphal  banner  in  the  bosom  of  the  excited  family. 
The  tattered  paper  still  exists,  folded  away  with  other  relics 
of  those  early  days,  so  hard  and  yet  so  sweet,  when  the  first 
small  victories  were  won,  and  the  enthusiasm  of  youth  lent 
romance  to  life's  drudgery." 

These  thrilling  experiences,  however,  came  after  that 
memorable  autumn,  described  with  such  rare  blending  of 
humor  and  pathos  long  afterwards,  in  "  Work,"  when  Louisa 
Alcott  went  out  into  the  world  to  seek  her  own  fortune,  as 
did  the  heroine  of  that  book.  I  think  the  true  story  was 
quite  as  pathetic  as  the  romance. 

A  trunk  —  "a  little  trunk"  —  full  of  the  plainest  clothes 
of  her  own  making,  and  twenty  dollars  which  she  had  earned 
by  writing,  these  were  the  armor  with  which  she  went  forth 
to  fight  for  existence  in  the  world's  struggle  for  the  survival 
of  the  fittest.  Nay,  she  had  more  —  she  had  firm  principles, 
perfect  health,  and  the  dear  consciousness  of  a  loving  and 
waiting  home  to  which  to  retreat  if  worsted  in  the  fight. 
And  thus  armed  she  struggled  and  conquered.  With  this  out- 


1.     A  PROUD  MOMENT. — DISCOVERING  THE  ANNOUNCEMENT  OF  "BERTHA.' 
2.     How  Miss  ALCOTT  WRITES  HER  STORIES. 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  39 

fit  she  travelled  to  Boston  one  dull  November  day,  intent  on 
carrying  out  her  resolution  to  be,  for  evermore,  self-helpful 
and  independent.  And  she  succeeded  triumphantly.  By 
teaching,  sewing,  writing  —  anything  that  came  to  hand  to  be 
done  —  she  not  only  supported  herself  for  many  long,  busy, 
toilsome  years  before  any  grand,  paying  triumph  came,  but 
sent  home  to  the  dear  ones  left  behind  an  ever-increasing 
store  of  material  help  and  comfort ;  an  unselfish  pleasure 
which  lightened  her  hard  tasks  and  sweetened  every  small 
success. 

Her  days  were  devoted  to  unrelenting  toil,  but  her  even- 
ings, when  she  was  not  writing,  she  gave  to  such  small 
pleasures  as  came  in  her  way ;  and  chief  among  these  she 
reckoned  the  golden  hours  spent  at  the  house  of  Theodore 
Parker,  where,  sitting  bashfully  in  a  corner,  she  caught 
glimpses  of  all  that  was  best  in  Boston  society. 

Emerson  came  there,  with  ever  a  kind  word  for  the  girl  he 
had  known  in  his  own  Concord;  Sumner,  Garrison,  Phillips, 
Mrs.  Howe,  just  then  beginning  her  crusade  against  all  sorts 
of  iniquities  ;  all  those  brave  women  who  in  those  days  were 
leading  the  van  in  the  cause  of  abolition,  and  who,  later,  set 
themselves  to  win  for  women  suffrage  and  social  freedom. 
Fugitive  slaves  came  there,  too ;  cultured  and  inquiring  for- 
eigners ;  transcendentalists,  with  bees  in  their  bonnets  and 
the  light  of  enthusiasm  in  their  eyes ;  the  hangers-on,  who 
surround  all  great  men,  striving  to  glorify  themselves  a  little 
by  means  of  reflected  light,  since  they  have  no  candles  of 
their  own ;  beautiful  women ;  merchant  princes ;  all  kinds 
and  conditions  of  men.  Such  was  the  society  —  as  varied 
and  shifting  as  the  scenes  in  a  panorama,  and  interesting  as 
life  is  interesting  —  which  the  tall  girl  out  of  Concord 
watched  with  those  eager,  gray-blue  eyes  of  hers,  whose 
keen  glances  nothing  escaped. 

Dearest,  best,  most  inspiring,  and  most  memorable  of  all 
was  her  host  himself  —  the  one  only  Parker  —  who  never 
omitted  to  give  her  at  least  a  few  words  of  greeting  and  fare- 
well. No  other  hand,  she  says,  had  so  firm  and  warm  a 


40  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

grasp  as  his ;  and  his  cheery,  "  How  goes  it,  my  child  ?  "  or, 
"God  bless  you;  keep  your  heart  up,  Louisa,"  helped  her 
over  many  a  rough  place,  and  sustained  her  under  that  de- 
spondency which  comes  sometimes  to  the  bravest  young 
woman  fighting  her  own  battle  in  a  world  where  her  place  is 
not  ready  made. 

Theodore  Parker  is  the  "  Mr.  Power"  of  "Work,"  as  Miss 
Alcott  herself  is  the  "  Christie  "  of  that  book.  Who  does 
not  remember  the  description  of  Mr.  Power's  prayer  —  "so 
devout,  so  comprehensive,  and  so  brief,  a  quiet  talk  with 
God,"  —  and  of  his  "judgment-day  sermons,"  in  which 
"  kingdoms  and  thrones  seemed  going  down,  and  each  man 
being  sent  to  his  own  place."  As  he  spoke  thus,  what  won- 
der that  "  a  curious  stir  went  through  the  crowd  at  times,  as 
a  great  wind  sweeps  over  a  cornfield,  lifting  the  broad  leaves 
to  the  light  and  testing  the  strength  of  root  and  stem." 

In  those  years  Miss  Alcott  began  to  write  "sensation" 
stories ;  following  up  the  first  attempts  already  mentioned 
with  many  others.  It  seems  almost  incredible,  but  after  a 
little  practice  in  crowding  much  wrath,  ruin,  and  revenge 
into  twenty-five  manuscript  pages,  she  found  she  could  turn 
out  ten  or  twelve  tales  in  a  month.  Frank  Leslie  gladly 
accepted  these  exciting  romances  for  his  numerous  publica- 
tions. After  a  while  Louisa  grew  weary  of  this  kind  of  writ- 
ing. "Wrath,  ruin,  and  revenge"  pall  at  length  upon  the 
bravest  of  us ;  and  when  novellettes  were  called  for,  of 
twenty-four  chapters,  with  a  breathless  catastrophe  in  at  least 
every  other  chapter,  thirty  pages  a  day  of  such  work  proved 
too  much  even  for  the  indefatigable  Miss  Alcott. 

Then  she  knocked  at  the  doors  of  the  "  Atlantic  Monthly" ; 
and  the  first  story  she  sent  there  was  returned  by  Mr.  Fields, 
with  the  friendly  advice  that  she  should  stick  to  her  teaching. 
Soon  after  this,  however,  the  "Atlantic"  opened  its  pages  to 
her  —  and  she  also  began  to  write  for  some  of  the  semi- 
religious  papers,  where  a  reasonable  amount  of  the  milk  of 
human  kindness  was  admissible,  and  which  therefore  offered 
a  welcome  change  from  the  "  sensation  stories." 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  41 

After  all,  those  were  happy  years  in  which  she  dreamed 
through  the  summer  in  that  Concord  of  which  Hawthorne  has 
said :  "  It  was  necessary  to  go  but  a  little  way  beyond  my 
threshold  before  meeting  with  stranger  moral  shapes  of  men 
than  might  have  been  encountered  elsewhere  in  a  circuit  of  a 
thousand  miles"  —  and  which  yet,  in  spite  of  its  strange  and 
gifted  denizens,  must  have  been  a  very  sane  place,  since  Mr. 
F.  B.  Sanborn  says  of  it,  in  his  admirable  "Life  of  Thoreau  "  : 
"Perpetuity,  indeed,  and  hereditary  transmission  of  every- 
thing that,  by  nature  and  good  sense,  can  be  inherited,  are 
ainon^  the  characteristics  of  Concord." 

O 

Here,  where  great  and  good  men  were  growing  old,  and 
other  great  and  good  men  had  left  behind  them  fragrant 
memories  of  their  just  lives  —  where  Nature  herself  appeared 
to  have  a  sense  of  her  own  responsibility,  and  not  to  be  quite 
the  capricious  vagrant  she  seems  elsewhere  —  Miss  Alcott 
went  with  the  spring,  like  the  home-returning  birds ;  and 
like  them  went  away  again  in  the  autumn,  not  to  the  South 
and  the  summer,  but  to  busy  Boston,  teaching  there  her  little 
invalid  pupil  on  Beacon  street,  or  writing  away  at  her  numer- 
ous stories  in  the  nest  she  found  under  the  eaves  of  some 
quiet  house,  or  indulging  her  taste  for  acting  by  taking  part 
in  a  play  for  the  benefit  of  some  charity  she  would  not  other- 
wise have  been  able  to  assist.  One  does  not  half  know  Miss 
Alcott  who  has  not  seen  her  —  as  Mrs.  Jarley — display  her 
"wax- works."  I  think  it  is  quite  the  best  bit  of  broad 
comedy  I  can  remember. 

One  break  in  these  busy  years  I  have  not  mentioned  — 
that  December  of  1862,  when  she  went  forth  full  of  enthusi- 
asm to  nurse  in  the  Soldier's  Hospital  —  a  veritable  Florence 
Nightingale  for  courage,  tenderness,  and  helpfulness,  as  I 
have  been  told  —  blessing  scores  of  dying-beds  with  her 
presence,  and  laboring  until  she  herself  was  stricken  down 
with  fever,  and  brought  home  with  her  dark  hair  shorn  from 
her  head,  with  wan  face,  shaken  strength,  and  unstrung 
nerves,  and  for  sole  reward  the  blessed  consciousness  that  she 
had  done  what  she  could.  "I  was  never  ill,"  she  said  to- me, 


42  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

"  until  after  that  hospital  experience,  and  I  have  never  been 
well  since." 

It  was  concerning  this  period  of  Miss  Alcott's  life  that  her 
father  wrote  his  sonnet  — 

"  When  I  remember  with  what  buoyant  heart, 

'Midst  war's  alarms  and  woes  of  civil  strife, 
In  youthful  eagerness  thou  did'st  depart 

At  peril  of  thy  safety,  peace,  and  life, 
To  nurse  the  wounded  soldier,  swathe  the  dead  — 

How,  pierced  soon  by  fever's  poisoned  dart, 
And  brought  unconscious  home  with  wildered  head  — 

Thou,  ever  since,  'mid  languor  and  dull  pain, 
To  conquer  fortune,  cherish  kindred  dear, 

Hast  with  grave  studies  vexed  a  sprightly  brain, 
In  myriad  households  kindled  love  and  cheer ; 

Ne'er  from  thyself  by  Fame's  loud  trump  beguiled ; 
Sounding  in  this  and  the  farther  hemisphere : 

I  press  thee  to  my  heart  as  duty's  faithful  child." 

"Hospital  Sketches  "  was  first  published  in  1865,  but  re- 
published,  with  additions,  in  1869. 

Even  before  "Hospital  Sketches,"  "Moods"  had  been 
fssued  by  Loring ;  but  that  has  also  been  recently  reprinted, 
with  a  large  amount  of  revision.  When  Miss  Alcott  first 
wrote  this  book  she  was  still  so  young  as  to  be  in  love  with 
the  tragic  aspects  of  life ;  and  death  seemed  to  her  the  only 
possible  solution  for  the  perplexities  of  her  heroine.  When 
it  was  republished  she  had  grown  old  enough  to  perceive  that 
nothing  is  irreparable  but  death ;  and  as  the  sun  sets  to  rise 
to-morrow,  it  is  possible  that  the  sun  of  a  human  life  shall 
rise  again  after  it  has  seemed  to  set  forever ;  and  she  kindly 
allowed  Sylvia  the  benefit  of  this  larger  knowledge  and  more 
cheerful  faith. 

In  the  July  of  1865  Miss  Alcott  went  abroad  for  the  first 
time.  She  went  over  as  the  companion  of  an  invalid  lady, 
and  passed  the  summer  at  German  baths,  the  autumn  at 
Vevay,  and  the  spring  in  Paris  and  London.  By  this  time 
she  was  alone ;  and  she  stayed  in  London  with  the  Con  ways, 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  43 

and  made  the  acquaintance  of  such  well-known  persons  as 
John  Stuart  Mill,  George  H.  Lewes,  Jean  Ingelow,  Frances 
Power  Cobbe,  and  many  others. 

It  was  in  1868  that  Mr.  Alcott  took  to  Roberts  Brothers  — 
those  publishers  whose  name  has  been  so  intimately  associated 
with  all  the  most  successful  and  brilliant  years  of  Miss 
Alcott' s  life  —  a  volume  composed  of  various  stories  with 
which  the  readers  of  newspapers  were  already  familiar.  Mr. 
Niles,  one  of  the  firm,  read  them,  and  recognized  their  merit, 
but  he  said  :  "  We  do  not  care  just  now  for  volumes  of  col- 
lected stories.  Will  not  your  daughter  write  us  a  new  book 
consisting  of  a  single  story  for  girls  ?  *' 

The  result  of  this  suggestion  was  "  Little  Women."  Miss 
Alcott  says  she  wrote  it  to  prove  that  she  could  not  write  a 
girls'  story,  having  always  preferred  to  play  with  boys,  and 
therefore  knowing  very  little  about  any  girls  except  her 
sisters  and  herself.  This  matchless  tale  was  sent  to  the  pub- 
lishers in  about  two  months  after  it  had  been  first  asked  for, 
with  the  amusing  suggestion  that  if  the  title  —  that  happiest 
title  which  juvenile  book  ever  had  —  was  not  liked  the  author 
would  willingly  change  it  for  something  else. 

The  first  part  of  "  Little  Women  "  was  published  in  October, 
1868  ;  but  it  attracted  comparatively  little  attention  until  the 
publication  of  the  second  part,  in  April,  1869,  when  sud- 
denly Miss  Alcott  became  famous.  I  do  not,  of  course, 
mean  that  the  first  part  of  the  book  was  not  widely  read  and 
cordially  welcomed ;  but  only  that  the  actual  furore  began 
with  the  publication  of  the  second  part.  Many  young  read- 
ers got  quite  desperately  excited  over  the  first,  and  one  such 
enthusiast  wrote  to  Miss  Alcott :  — 

DEAR  Miss  ALCOTT,  —  I  have  read  the  first  part  of  "  Little 
Women,"  and  cried  quarts  over  Beth's  sickness.  If  you  don't 
have  her  marry  Laurie  in  the  second  part,  I  shall  never  forgive 
you,  and  none  of  the  girls  in  our  school  will  ever  read  any  more 
of  your  books.  Do !  Do  !  have  her,  please. 

All  the  young  people  who  had  read  the  first  part  of  this 
fascinating  story  were  eager  to  get  hold  of  the  second,  and 


44  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

these  readers  talked  about  the  wondrous  tale  to  others,  so  that 
the  sale  grew  and  grew.  No  more  hard  work  for  Miss 
Alcott !  The  tide  of  her  fortunes  was  rising  fast.  As  early 
as  the  29th  of  December,  1869,  she  wrote  to  her  publishers  : — 

Many  thanks  for  the  check  which  made  my  Christmas  an 
unusually  merry  one.  After  toiling  so  many  years  along  the 
up-hill  road,  always  a  hard  one  to  women-writers,  it  is  peculiarly 
grateful  to  me  to  find  the  way  growing  easier  at  last,  with  pleas- 
ant little  surprises  blossoming  on  either  side,  and  the  rough  places 
made  smooth. 

This  was  the  beginning  of  the  most  shining  success  ever 
achieved  by  any  author  of  juvenile  literature  —  so  great  a 
success  that  when  "Little  Men"  was  issued,  its  publication 
had  to  be  delayed  until  the  publishers  were  prepared  to  fill 
advance  orders  for  fifty  thousand  copies. 

"Little  Women"  was  succeeded  by  the  new  edition  of 
"Hospital  Sketches,"  "An  Old-Fashioned  Girl,"  "Little 
Men,"  "Eight  Cousins,"  "Rose  in  Bloom,"  "Under  the 
Lilacs,"  "  Jack  and  Jill,"  "  Work,"  "  Moods,"—  in  the  revised 
edition  —  "  Silver  Pitchers,"  "Proverb  Stories,"  and  the  six 
volumes  of  "Aunt  Jo's  Scrap-Bag,"  namely,  "My  Boys," 
"Shawl-Straps,"  "Cupid  and  Chow-Chow,"  "My  Girls," 
"Jimmy's  Cruise  in  the  Pinafore,"  and  "An  Old-Fashioned 
Thanksgiving,"  those  last  six  volumes  having  been  chiefly 
compiled  from  her  numerous  contributions  to  "  St.  Nicholas  " 
and  other  juvenile  publications. 

There  is  another  book  of  Miss  Alcott's,  the  authorship  of 
which  is  still  a  mystery  to  the  general  public,  "A  Modern 
Mephistopheles."  This  was  contributed  to  the  first  series  of 
Roberts  Brothers'  "No  Name"  books,  and  the  puzzle  of  its 
authorship  has  remained  a  vexed  question.  It  was  so  much 
more  like  Mrs.  Spoflbrd  than  like  Miss  Alcott  that  many 
people  set  it  down  to  the  author  of  "  Sir  Rohan's  Ghost,"  and 
were  satisfied. 

On  these  various  books  Miss  Alcott  has  received  copyright 
amounting  to  not  far  from  one  hundred  thousand  dollars. 
They  have  not  only  been  reprinted  and  largely  sold  in  Eng- 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  45 

land,  but  also  translated  into  several  foreign  languages,  and 
thus  published  with  persistent  success.  Take  it  altogether, 
Miss  Alcott  has  had  a  most  prosperous  life  ;  and  yet  she  com- 
plains, mildly,  of  the  drawbacks  attending  success.  She 
says  it  is  very  trying  to  "live  in  a  lantern";  and  to  an 
obscurity-loving  soul  it  is  not  pleasant  to  feel  that  one  has 
suddenly  become  public  property.  She  endorses,  with  re- 
freshing zeal,  Dr.  Holmes's  "Atlantic"  article  on  the  Right  of 
Authors  to  Privacy.  She  says  she  could  compile  a  very 
amusing  book  from  the  curious  requests  she  has  received,  and 
the  ill-judged  confidences  bestowed  on  her  during  the  last  ten 
years.  Of  these  modest  requests  here  is  one,  from  a  lady  in 
South  Carolina :  — 

MADAME,  —  As  it  has  pleased  God  to  bless  you  with  a  million, 
I  feel  no  hesitation  in  asking  you  for  the  sum  of  one  hundred  dol- 
lars, to  get  a  communion  service  for  the  new  Episcopal  chapel  in 
our  town.  A  speedy  reply  is  requested. 

The  petition  which  follows,  from  a  resident  of  Los  Vegas, 
is  even  more  amazing  :  — 

L.  M.  ALCOTT,  Author. 

I  am  interested  in  the  oldest  ruin  in  the  United  States. 
We  wish  to  rebuild  and  keep  the  Pecas  Ruin  as  long  as  the 
U.  S.  Government  lasts.  If  you  can  interest  your  friends  in 
the  cause,  and  send  us  funds,  They  will  be  gratefully  received. 
Our  Country  is  full  of  Relicts  of  the  past.  If  you  wish  to 
write  a  legion  of  the  ruins  we  will  send  the  facts.  It  is  about 
the  residence  of  Montezuma,  and  the  indians  tell  how  a  hedi- 
ous  flying  serpent  carried  him  to  Mexico  and  his  fate.  I  am  a 
teacher. 

Not  all  Miss  Alcott's  odd  letters,  however,  are  of  the 
"your-money-or-your-life"  order.  Here  is  one  which  con- 
tains an  amusing  offer  of  assistance  :  — 

DEAR  AUNT  Jo,  —  I  am  nine  years  old.  I  like  your  books 
most  of  all  in  the  world.  Please  do  some  more.  Have  a  sequel 
to  Jack  and  Jill.  I  will  pay  for  it  if  you  will.  I  have  seventy- 
five  cents.  Won't  that  be  enough  ? 

Your  little  friend,  WILLY. 


46  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

Miss  Alcott  generously  keeps  secret  the  amazing  confidences 
which  have  been  reposed  in  her  unresponsive  heart.  The 
religious  advice,  so  freely  proffered,  she  accepts  gratefully ; 
the  "  matrimonial  advances  "  she  will  not  disclose ;  and  of  all 
the  reams  of  poetry  which  have  been  lavished  at  her  shrine 
she  has  only  afforded  me  this  one  remarkable  example  :  — 

TO   MY    DEAR. 

"  Who  is  the  geranium  of  the  world, 

Blooming  proud  and  fair  — 
Sweet  as  mignonette  is  she, 
Perfuming  all  the  air  — 

Louisa  M.  Alcott. 

"  Who  is  best  of  human  women, 

Growing  ever  to  the  sky, 
Scattering  joy  and  compensation 
From  her  life's  inspiring  eye  — 
Louisa  M.  Alcott." 

This  extraordinary  production  was  signed  "  Jim " ;  and 
Miss  Alcott  tells  me  that  so  many  similar  effusions,  all  signed 
w  Jim,"  and  all  postmarked  "  Hartford,"  have  been  received 
as  to  suggest  to  her  that  she  has  inspired  the  profound  and 
lasting  admiration  of  some  amiable  occupant  of  the  Hartford 
Retreat  for  the  Insane. 

Perhaps  it  is  hardly  matter  for  wonder  that  the  recipient 
of  a  long  series  of  such  letters  and  such  rhymes  should  have 
grown  inflexible,  and  should  turn  a  deaf  ear  to  the  syren 
tongue  of  the  interviewer,  and  reject  all  petitions  for  auto- 
graphs and  photographs.  If  people  want  to  know  her  they 
must  divine  her  from  her  books  ;  and,  indeed,  the  works  of 
no  writer  with  whom  I  am  acquainted  convey  so  faithful  and 
complete  an  impression  of  their  author  as  those  of  Miss 
Alcott. 

One  of  the  questions  I  asked  her  in  behalf  of  this  sketch 
was  how  large  a  portion  of  her  books  was  actually  founded 
upon  the  facts  of  her  life.  She  has  told  me  that  "  Little 
Women"  was  really  the  story  of  herself  and  her  sisters, 
with  such  slight  changes  of  time,  place,  and  denouement  as 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  47 

were  necessary  to  make  the  tale  complete.  "Meg,"  who 
afterwards  became  Mrs.  Annie  Pratt,  with  her  genius  for 
making  a  happy  home  —  "Amy,"  otherwise  May,  with  her 
artistic  taste  and  aspirations  —  "  Beth,"  with  her  sweet  and 
gentle  nature,  and  early  death  —  and  "  Jo,"  who  was  Miss 
Louisa  herself — did  not  Concord  know  them  all,  and  smile 
at  them  as  old  friends  when  they  looked  out  of  the  pages  of 
"  Little  Women  "  ?  "  Mr.  March  "  was  Mr.  Alcott,  who  did 
not,  however,  really  go  to  the  war ;  and  "  Mrs.  March  "  was 
the  dear  house-mother,  for  whom  the  utmost  prSise  never 
seemed  to  her  fond  child  half  good  enough.  "  John  Brooke's  " 
life  and  death,  "Demy's"  quaint  character,  all  the  little 
domestic  devices  and  diversions  —  these  are  history,  as  veri- 
table as  it  is  entertaining. 

Here  is  Miss  Alcott's  portrait  of  herself  at  fifteen :  "  Jo 
was  very  tall,  thin,  and  brown,  and  reminded  one  of  a  colt, 
for  she  never  seemed  to  know  what  to  do  with  her  long  limbs, 
which  were  very  much  in  her  way.  She  had  a  decided 
mouth,  a  comical  nose,  and  sharp,  gray  eyes  which  appeared 
to  see  everything,  and  were  by  turns  fierce,  or  funny,  or 
thoughtful.  Her  long,  thick  hair  was  her  one  beauty,  but  it 
was  usually  bundled  into  a  net  to  be  out  of  her  way.  Round 
shoulders  had  Jo,  and  big  hands  and  feet,  a  fly-away  look  to 
her  clothes,  and  the  uncomfortable  appearance  of  a  girl 
who  was  rapidly  shooting  up  into  a  woman,  and  didn't  like 
it." 

"Work,"  as  I  have  said  before,  was  very  largely  the  story 
of  the  author's  own  struggle  with  the  world ;  as  "  Hospital 
Sketches  "  was  the  simple  record  of  her  own  experience  as  a 
hospital  nurse. 

"  Little  Men  "  was  chiefly  imaginary,  and  was  written  in 
Eome  in  1871.  "  Moods  "  was  composed,  in  its  earliest  form, 
at  eighteen ;  and  was,  says  Miss  Alcott,  "  the  book  into 
which  I  put  most  time,  love,  and  hope  ;  and  it  is  much  truer 
than  people  suppose.  Sylvia  was  suggested  by  my  own 
moods,  through  which,  however,  I  never  got  into  any  senti- 
mental woes.  But  they  have  gone  with  me  through  my  life, 


48  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

and  made  it  both  harder  and  richer  by  the  alternations  of 
delight  and  despondency  which  they  have  brought  me  —  the 
success  the  world  sees,  and  the  private  trials  and  defeats  are 
known  to  myself  only." 

Some  time  after  "  Moods  "  was  published  a  lady  asked  Miss 
Alcott  how  she  knew  her  story.  "  I  had  never  known  be- 
fore," said  Miss  Alcott,  "that  she  had  a  story  at  all.  But  I 
was  glad  of  the  question,  which  assured  me  that  the  fanciful 
heart-experiences  of  my  book  were  possible." 

"  An  Old-Fashioned  Girl,"  and,  indeed,  all  the  remaining 
books,  with  the  exception  of  "  Shawl-Straps,"  are  imaginary. 
K  Shawl-Straps  "  is  the  record  of  Miss  Alcott's  second  Euro- 
pean journey  —  a  year  in  duration  —  in  which  she  was  accom- 
panied by  her  artist  sister  May,  and  Miss  Bartlett,  an  inti- 
mate friend.  This  journey,  taken  in  1870-71,  is  described 
in  so  lively  a  manner  that  the  reader  really  feels  as  if  he  had 
shared  it.  In  this  book  the  author  figures  as  "  Livy,"  other- 
wise "the  Raven,"  otherwise  "the  old  Lady  ;  "  the  last  a  title 
which  she  began  to  bestow  on  herself  before  the  rest  of  the 
world  had  dreamed  of  calling  her  middle-aged.  She  repre- 
sents Livy  as  groaning  with  rheumatism  and  neuralgia,  nurs- 
ing her  woes,  and  croaking  as  dismally  as  any  other  raven ; 
but  you  cannot  help  finding  out  that  she  was,  after  all,  the 
brightest,  most  delightful  travelling  companion,  and  most  in- 
dulgent duenna  with  whom  any  two  girls  were  ever  blessed. 

Miss  Alcott  had  learned  her  London  by  heart  in  1865,  and 
had  made  up  her  mind  that,  next  to  Boston,  it  was  the  most 
delightful  of  cities.  Its  mud  and  fog  were  dear  to  her ;  its 
beef  and  beer  outrivalled  nectar  and  ambrosia ;  and  its 
steady-going,  respectable  citizens  were  heroes  and  heroines 
to  her  fancy.  Therefore,  when  she  got  there,  "  the  old  lady" 
sniffed  with  delight  the  familiar  fogs,  and  found  herself  in  a 
paradise  more  congenial  than  France  or  Italy  had  been. 

The  last  twelve  years  have  been  for  Miss  Alcott  full  of  tri- 
umphant prosperity.  She  has  orders  so  numerous  that  she 
cannot  fulfil  them  —  her  books  go  through  edition  after  edi- 
tion — -and  in  acknowledgment  of  a  gift  from  her  publishers 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  49 

on  her  fiftieth  birthday,  November  29,  1882,  she  wrote  :  "It 
was  very  kind  of  you  to  remember  the  old  lady,  and  thus  to 
make  this  peculiarly  sad  birthday  happier.  .  .  .  The  burden 
of  fifty  years  is  much  lightened  by  the  expressions  of  affec- 
tion that  come  to  me  from  east  and  west,  and  as  I  turn  my 
face  toward  sunset  I  find  so  much  to  make  the  down-hill  jour- 
ney smooth  and  lovely,  that,  like  Christiana,  I  go  on  my  way 
rejoicing  with  a  cheerful  heart." 

Miss  Alcott  certainly  carries  the  burden  of  her  fifty  years 
lightly.  If  you  met  her  now,  you  would  see  a  stately  lady, 
unusually  tall,  with  thick,  dark  hair,  clear-seeing,  blue-gray 
eyes,  and  strong,  resolute  features,  full  of  varied  expression. 

How  well  I  remember  the  humorous  twinkle  in  her  eyes, 
which  half  belied  the  grave  earnestness  of  her  manner,  when 
she  told  me  once  that  she  was  inclined  to  believe  in  the  trans- 
migration of  souls. 

"I  have  often  thought,"  she  said,  "  that  I  may  have  been  a 
horse  before  I  was  Louisa  Alcott.  As  a  long-limbed  child  I 
had  all  a  horse's  delight  in  racing  through  the  fields,  and  toss- 
ing my  head  to  sniff  the  morning  air.  Now,  I  am  more  than 
half-persuaded  that  I  am  a  man's  soul,  put  by  some  freak  of 
nature  into  a  woman's  body." 

"  Why  do  you  think  that?"  I  asked,  in  the  spirit  of  Bos- 
well  addressing  Dr.  Johnson. 

"Well,  for  one  thing,"  and  the  blue-gray  eyes  sparkled 
with  laughter,  "  because  I  have  fallen  in  love  in  my  life  with 
so  many  pretty  girls,  and  never  once  the  least  little  bit  with 
any  man." 

These  recent  years,  that  have  brought  to  Miss  Alcott  such 
great  prosperity,  have  also  brought  to  her  much  keen  sorrow. 
The  dear  mother,  whose  story  reads  like  one  of  the  lives  of 
the  saints,  who  never  was  so  poor  that  she  had  not  something 
to  give,  and  who  was  herself  the  guide  and  teacher  of  her 
children,  not  in  books  alone,  but  in  everything  that  was 
lovely  and  noble  and  of  good  report,  lived  long  enough, 
thank  Heaven,  to  taste  all  the  sweetness  of  her  daughter's 
good  fortune.  The  most  precious  thing  in  Miss  Alcott's 


50  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

triumph  was  that  she  could  lay  its  fruits  at  her  mother's  feet, 
and  cheer  with  them  the  last  years  of  that  brave  and  faithful 
life.  Mrs.  Alcott  had  dearly  loved  noble  books.  When  her 
girls  were  young  she  used  to  read  aloud  to  them  from  the 
best  authors  while  they  sewed ;  and  this  was  a  large  part  of 
their  education.  Her  own  love  for  books  went  with  her  all 
through  her  life,  till  one  day  in  1877,  a  week  before  her 
death,  she  laid  down  her  favorite  Johnson,  too  weary  to  go 
on  with  him,  and  said,  quietly,  "I  shall  read  no  more,  but  I 
thank  rny  good  father  for  the  blessing  the  love  of  literature 
has  been  to  me  for  seventy  years." 

The  death  of  this  faithful  and  loving  mother  was  as  beauti- 
ful as  her  life  had  been.  Her  last  words  to  her  husband 
were,  "  You  are  laying  a  very  soft  pillow  for  me  to  rest  on." 
And  when  her  failing  breath  made  it  difficult  to  speak,  she 
whispered,  with  a  lovely,  loving  look,  "  A  smile  is  as  good 
as  a  prayer,"  and  soon,  waving  her  hand  to  the  picture  of  her 
absent  daughter,  then  in  Europe,  she  said  —  "  Good-by,  my 
little  May,  good-by ! "  —  and  so  died,  to  use  Miss  Alcott's 
own  words,  "in  the  arms  of  that  child  who  owed  her  most, 
who  loved  her  best,  and  had  counted  as  her  greatest  success 
the  power  of  making  these  last  years  a  season  of  happy  rest 
to  the  truest  and  tenderest  of  mothers." 

It  is  the  dearest  plan  in  Miss  Alcott's  scheme  of  future 
literary  work  to  write  the  biography  of  this  noble  mother, 
who  had  a  heart  warm  enough  and  large  enough  to  shelter  the 
sinful  as  well  as  the  sorrowful ;  and  who  so  loved  the  worst 
and  weakest  of  her  fellow-creatures  that  she  joyed  in  noth- 
ing so  much  as  in  spending  and  being  spent  for  them. 

In  March,  1878,  Miss  Alcott's  youngest  sister,  May,  was 
married,  in  Paris,  to  Ernst  Nieriker;  and  in  December, 
1879,  she  died,  leaving  to  Louisa's  care  her  infant  daughter, 
Louisa  May  Nieriker,  who  was  brought  home  to  her  aunt  in 
September,  1880,  the  partial  consolation  for  so  grievous  a 
loss. 

*The  Orchards,"  for  twenty-five  years  the  home  of  the 
Alcotts,  is  now  devoted  to  the  "  Summer  School  of  Philoso- 


LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT.  51 

phy,"  and  Miss  Alcott  and  her  father  live  at  present  in  the 
house  where  Thoreau  died,  together  with  Mrs.  Pratt,  Miss 
Alcott's  widowed  sister,  and  her  children.  Here  for  some 
time  past  Miss  Alcott  had  been  absorbed  in  the  care  of  her 
father,  stricken  the  22d  of  October,  1882,  with  paralysis. 

I  cannot  forget  my  own  last  interview  with  this  serene  old 
man,  of  whom  Thoreau  wrote  :  "  Great  Looker  !  Great  Ex- 
pecter !  to  converse  with  him  was  a  New  England  night's 
entertainment." 

It  was,  I  think,  in  February,  1882,  I  stood  under  an  um- 
brella, in  a  light  snow,  waiting  for  a  horse-car.  Mr.  Alcott 
came  by  and  stopped  to  speak  to  me,  with  that  wise  yet 
genial  smile  which  always  seemed  like  a  benediction.  He 
said  a  few  friendly  sentences,  and  then  I  spoke  of  his  book 
of  "  Sonnets  and  Canzonets,"  and  asked,  "  How  is  it,  Mr. 
Alcott,  that  at  eighty-two  you  are  so  vigorous  and  strong, 
and  with  a  poet's  heart  alive  in  you  yet?  " 

"It  is,"  he  said,  "because  I  have  kept  the  ten  command- 
ments. Men  were  meant  to  live  a  hundred  years  at  least  — 
only  they  have  disobeyed  the  taws.  Let  Us  have  several 
generations  of  people  who  live  healthfully  and  keep  the  com- 
mandments, and  we  may  have  those  who  will  be  able  to  say, 
'  I  think  I  will  not  stop  at  a  hundred  years.  I  will  live  onf 

"  Great  Expecter,"  indeed !  It  seemed  to  me,  then,  that 
he  might  probably  realize  his  own  idea  of  living  a  hundred 
years  ;  and  the  news  of  his  illness  shocked  me  with  surprise  as 
wrell  as  with  grief.  He  is  a  man  who  has  walked  so  long  in 
heavenly  places  that  for  him  to  die  will  be  but  "  to  pass  from 
this  room  into-  the  next."  9 

Concerning  Miss  Alcott,  it  remains  only  to  speak  of  her 
education  and  her  methods  of  work.  She  was  educated 
rather  by  reading  than  by  study.  She  was  always  a  great 
reader,  never  a  great  student.  At  fifteen  Ralph  Waldo  Em- 
erson introduced  her  to  the  works  of  Goethe,  which  have 
ever  since  been  her  delight.  Her  personal  library  consists  of 
Goethe,  Emerson,  Shakspeare,  Margaret  Fuller,  Miss  Edge- 
worth,  and  George  Sand.  George  Eliot  she  does  not  care 
4 


52  LOUISA  MAY  ALCOTT. 

for,  nor  does  she  enjoy  any  of  the  modern  poets,  except 
Whittier ;  but  she  likes  Coleridge,  Keats,  and,  farther  back, 
Crashaw,  and  godly  George  Herbert,  and  a  few  of  their  con- 
temporaries. 

She  never  had  a  study  —  any  corner  will  answer  to  write 
in.  She  is  not  particular  as  to  pens  and  paper,  and  an  old 
atlas  on  her  knee  is  all  the  desk  she  cares  for.  She  has  the 
wonderful  power  to  carry  a  dozen  plots  in  her  head  at  a  time, 
thinking  them  over  whenever  she  is  in  the  mood.  Sometimes 
she  carries  a  plot  thus  for  years,  and  suddenly  finds  it  all 
ready  to  be  written.  Often,  in  the  dead  waste  and  middle 
of  the  night,  she  lies  awake  and  plans  whole  chapters,  word 
for  word,  and  when  daylight  conies  has  only  to  write  them 
off  us  if  she  were  copying.  In  her  hardest-working  days  she 
used  to  write  fourteen  hours  in  the  twenty-four,  sitting 
steadily  at  her  work,  and  scarcely  tasting  food  till  her  daily 
task  was  done. 

Very  few  of  her  stories  have  been  written  in  Concord. 
This  peaceful,  pleasant  place,  whose  fields  are  classic  ground, 
utterly  lacks  inspiration  for  Miss  Alcott.  She  calls  it  "  this 
dull  town  " ;  and  when  she  has  a  story  to  write  she  goes  to 
Boston,  hires  a  quiet  room,  and  shuts  herself  up  in  it,  and 
waits  for  an  east  wind  of  inspiration,  which  never  fails.  In  a 
month  or  so  the  book  will  be  done,  and  its  author  comes  out, 
"  tired,  hungry,  and  cross,"  and  ready  to  go  back  to  Concord 
and  vegetate  for  a  time.  When  engaged  in  the  work  of  com- 
position her  characters  seem  more  real  to  her  than  actual 
people.  They  will  not  obey  her —  she  merely  writes  of  them 
what  she  seems  to  see  and  hear  —  and  sometimes  these 
shadows  whom  she  has  conjured  almost  affright  her  with 
their  wilful  reality.  She  never  copies,  and  seldom  corrects 
—  from  before  these  men  and  women,  great  and  small,  she 
pulls  away  the  curtain  and  lets  us  see  them  as  they  are. 


CHAPTER  II. 
SUSAN    B.    ANTHONY. 


BY  ELIZABETH  CADY  STANTOX. 

Susan  B.  Anthony's  Parentage  —  Her  Girlhood  —  A  Rebellious  Quaker  — 
Incident  in  Her  Early  Life  —  The  Heighth  of  Her  Ambition  —  A 
"  High-Seat"  Quaker —  Incident  in  Her  Experience  as  Teacher  —  Advo- 
cating Temperance,  Anti-Slavery,  and  Woman  Suffrage  —  Her  Facility 
and  Power  as  an  Orator — Speaking  to  a  Deaf  and  Dumb  Audience  — 
Incident  on  a  Mississippi  Steamboat —  Celebrating  Her  Fiftieth  Birth- 
day—  Trip  to  Europe  —  Incidents  of  Foreign  Travel  —  Arrested  for 
Voting  —  The  Legal  Struggle  that  followed —  Her  Labors  for  Woman 
Suffrage  —  Her  Industry  and  Self-denial  for  the  Cause  —  Personal  Ap- 
pearance. 

"  He  that  hath  wife  and  children  hath  given  hostages  to  fortune  ;  for  they  are  impedi- 
ments to  great  enterprises  either  of  virtue  or  mischief.  Certainly  the  best  works,  and  of 
greatest  merit,  for  the  public  have  proceeded  from  the  unmarried  or  childless  men  ; 
which,  both  in  affection  and  means,  have  married  and  endowed  the  public." 

HIS  bit  of  Baconian  philosophy,  as  alike  applica- 
ble to  women,  was  the  subject,  not  long  since, 
of  my  conversation  with  a   remarkably  gifted 
young  English  woman.     She  was  absorbed  in 
many  public  interests,  and  had  conscientiously 
^  resolved  never  to  marry,  lest  the  cares  neces- 
sarily involved  should  make  inroads  upon  her 
time  and  thought  to  the  detriment  of  the  gen- 
eral good.     "Unless,"  said  she,  "  some  women 
dedicate  themselves  to  the  public  service,  society  is 
robbed  of  needed  guardians  for  the  special  wants 
of  the  weak  and  unfortunate.     There  should  be  in  the  secular 
world  certain  orders,  corresponding  in  a  measure  to  the  grand 

63 


54  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

sisterhoods  of  the  Catholic  Church,  to  the  members  of  which, 
as  freely  as  to  men,  all  offices,  civic  and  ecclesiastical,  should 
be  open."  That  this  ideal  will  be  realized  may  be  inferred 
from  the  fact  that  exceptional  women  have,  in  all  ages,  been 
leaders  in  great  projects  of  charity  and  reform,  and  that  now 
many  stand  waiting  only  the  sanction  of  their  century,  ready 
for  wide  altruistic  labors. 

The  world  has  ever  had  its  vestal  virgins,  its  holy  women, 
mothers  of  ideas  rather  than  men  :  its  Marys,  as  well  as  its 
Marthas,  who,  rather  than  be  busy  housewives,  preferred  to 
sit  at  the  feet  of  divine  wisdom,  and  ponder  the  mysteries  of 
the  unknown.  All  hail  to  Maria  Mitchell,  Harriet  Hosmer, 
Charlotte  Cushman,  Alice  and  Phoebe  Gary,  Louisa  Alcott, 
and  Frances  Willard !  All  honor  to  the  noble  women  that 
have  devoted  earnest  lives  to  the  intellectual  needs  of  man- 
kind ! 

In  this  galaxy  of  single  women  we  shall  place  one  other 
star,  —  to  be  pronounced,  perhaps,  by  the  future  as  of  the 
first  magnitude.  If  we  seek  out  what  first  kindled  that  flame, 
we  find  but  a  tiny  spark,  a  few  rough  words,  roughly  spoken  : 
"It  takes  sometime  to  get  the  hang  of  the  barn,"  —  uncouth 
answer  to  kindly  inquiry  of  gentle  Quaker  host,  as  to  the 
new  teacher's  first  day's  experience  in  his  public  school.  The 
vulgar  words  fell  not  on  stony  grounds,  but  on  rich  virgin 
soil,  and  have  borne  fruit  to  us.  Demure  Quaker  daughter 
sitting  there,  apparently  intent  upon  the  wholesome  New 
England  dinner,  was,  in  truth,  putting  to  her  ardent  soul  a 
mighty  question,  to  which  her  life  was  to  give  answer.  The 
modest,  conscientious  girl  of  twenty  —  for  Susan  Anthony 
was  twenty  on  the  fifteenth  day  of  the  second  month  of  that 
year,  1840,  just  a  score  of  years  younger  than  her  century  — 
fell  to  pondering.  For  many  days  Susan  had  been  eagerly 
anticipating  the  arrival  of  the  male  teacher,  whom  the  board 
of  education  had  selected  to  take  her  school  during  the  win- 
ter. Surely,  thought  she,  he  must  be  very  superior ;  for 
even  her  teaching  and  discipline  had  now  unbounded  praise, 
and  he  was  to  receive  treble  her  salary !  And  here  at  last  is 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  55 

the  ugly  fact,  —  "  It  takes  some  time  to  get  the  hang  of  the 
barn  !  "  Think  you  not  that  our  quiet,  earnest,  Susan  longed 
to  rescue  her  village  bairns,  with  immortality  struggling  in 
each  little  soul,  from  the  guidance  of  that  homespun  farmer 
lad?  Burning  questions  arose  in  the  girl's  mind,  and  she 
went  apart  to  think.  Susan  Anthony  did  not  then  solve  her 
vast  problem  :  perhaps  true  solution  has  not  yet  come  to  any 
seeker ;  but  friends  and  even  many  foes  begin  to  think  that 
she  had  found  at  least  one  unknown  quantity  in  this  equation 
of  the  vague,  — this  world  mystery,  —  what  is  the  true  rela- 
tion of  man  to  woman  ;  what  can  render  justice  between  them? 
This  bit  of  womanhood  had  not  received  unwholesome  train- 
ing for  a  clear  insight  into  questions  of  absolute  right. 

Susan  B.  Anthony  was  of  sturdy  New  England  stock,  and  it 
was  at  the  foot  of  Old  Grey  lock,  South  Adams,  Massachu- 
setts, that  she  gave  forth  her  first  rebellious  cry  against  the 
world  of  formulas  that  awaited  her.  There  the  baby  steps 
were  taken,  and  at  the  village  school  the  first  stitches  were 
learned,  and  the  A,  B,  C,  in  good,  old,  stupid,  orthodox 
fashion,  duly  mastered.  When  five  winters  had  passed  over 
the  solemn  little  head  there  came  a  time  of  great  domestic 
commotion,  and  the  child-mind,  in  its  small  way,  seized  the 
idea  that  permanence  is  not  the  rule  of  life.  The  family 
moved  to  Battenville,  New  York,  wiiere  Mr.  Anthony  became 
one  of  the  wealthiest  men  in  Washington  County.  Susan  can 
still  recall  the  stately  coldness  of  the  great  house,  — how  large 
the  bare  rooms,  with  their  yellow  painted  floors,  seemed  in 
contrast  with  her  own  diminutiveness,  and  the  outlook  of  the 
schoolroom  where  for  so  many  years,  with  her  brothers  and 
sisters,  she  pursued  her  studies  under  private  tutors. 

The  father  of  our  young  heroine  was  a  stern  Hicksite  Qua- 
ker c  In  Susan's  early  life  he  objected  on  principle  to  all 
forms  of  frivolous  amusement,  —  such  as  music,  dancing,  novel 
reading ;  games  and  even  pictures  were  regarded  as  mean- 
ingless luxuries,  if  not  as  relaxing  to  strict  morality.  Such 
puritanical  convictions  might  have  easily  degenerated  into  the 
meagerest  formalism,  expressing  itself  in  most  nasal  cant;-*- 


56  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

but  underlying  all  was  a  broad  and  firm  basis  of  wholesome 
respect  for  individual  freedom,  and  a  brave  adherence,  in  deed 
as  well  as  word,  to  the  best  truth  that  lay  hid  in  the  heart  of 
him.  No  personal  belief  could  blind  him  to  the  essentials  of 
life.  He  was  a  man  of  good  business  capacity,  and  a  thorough 
manager  of  his  wide  and  lucrative  interests.  He  saw  that 
compensation  and  not  chance  ruled  in  the  commercial  world ; 
and  he  believed  in  the  same  just,  though  often  severe,  law  in 
the  sphere  of  morals.  Such  a  man  was  riot  apt  to  walk  humbly 
in  the  path  mapped  out  by  his  religious  sect.  He  early  of- 
fended by  choosing  a  Baptist  for  his  wife.  Heinous  offence  ! 
for  which  he  was  disowned,  and,  according  to  Quaker  usage, 
could  only  be  received  into  fellowship  again  by  declaring  him- 
self "  sorry  "  for  his  crime  in  full  meeting.  Sad  plight  this  for  a 
happy  bridegroom  !  — yea,  very  sad  !  For  his  heart  said  that 
he  was  full  of  devout  thankfulness  for  the  good  woman  by 
his  side,  and  destined  to  be  thankful  to  the  very  end  for  this 
companion,  so  calm,  so  just,  so  far-seeing.  Sturdily  he  rose 
in  meeting,  and  in  quiet,  manly  way,  said  he  was  "  sorry  " 
that  the  rules  of  the  society  were  such,  that,  in  marrying  the 
woman  he  loved,  he  had  committed  offence  !  Here  's  a  man 
of  worth  ;  necessary  to  the  society  ;  he  admits  he  is  "  sorry  " 
for  something,  it  does  not  matter  what,  —  let  him  be  taken 
back  into  the  body  of  the  faithful !  But  this  rebel's  faith  had 
begun  to  weaken  in  many  minor  points  of  discipline  ;  his  coat 
soon  becomes  a  cause  of  offence,  and  calls  forth  another 
reproof  from  the  moralities  tightly  buttoned  in  conforming 
garments.  The  convenient  coat  was  adhered  to  ;  forgiveness 
once  more  granted.  The  petty  forms  of  Liberal  Quaker- 
ism began  to  lose  their  weight  with  him  altogether,  and  he 
was  finally  disowned  for  allowing  the  village  youth  to  be 
taught  dancing  in  a  large  upper  room  of  his  dwelling.  He 
was  applied  to  for  this  favor  on  the  ground  that  young  men 
were  under  great  temptation  to  drink  if  the  lessons  were 
given  in  the  hotel ;  and,  being  a  rigid  temperance  man,  he 
readily  consented,  though  his  principles  in  regard  to  dancing 
would  not  allow  his  own  sons  and  daughters  to  join  in  the 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  57 

amusement.  But  the  society  could  accept  no  such  nice  dis- 
crimination in  what  it  deemed  sin,  nor  such  compromise  with 
worldly  frivolity.  Flagrant  cause  this  for  reprimand  !  But 
the  final  appeal,  this  time,  the  rebel  makes  to  his  own  con- 
science, and  receives  the  verdict,  "  well  done,  good  and 
faithful  servant,"  and  he  is  seen  no  more  in  meeting,  nor 
in  churches  where  the  creeds  rule.  But  in  later  years,  in 
Rochester,  he  sits  an  attentive  listener  to  the  soul  truths  of 
Rev.  William  Henry  Channing. 

The  effect  of  all  this  on  our  young  reformer  is  the  question 
of  interest.  No  doubt  she  early  weighed  the  comparative 
moral  effects  of  coats  cut  with  capes  and  those  cut  without, 
of  purely  Quaker  conjugal  love,  and  that  deteriorated  with 
Baptist  affection.  Weighty  problems,  too,  she  heard  dis- 
cussed, and  decisions  on  all  the  vital  questions  of  the  hour, 
overriding  compromises  based  on  the  absolutely  true.  Susan 
had  an  earnest  soul,  a  conscience  tending  to  morbidity  ;  but 
a  strong,  well-balanced  body  and  simple  family  life  soothed 
the  too  active  moral  nature,  and  gave  the  world,  instead  of  a 
religious  fanatic,  hypochondriac  philosopher,  a  sincere,  con- 
centrated worker.  Every  household  art  was  taught  her  by 
her  mother,  and  so  great  was  her  ability  that  the  duty  de- 
manding especial  care  was  always  given  into  her  hands.  But 
ever,  amid  school  and  household  tasks,  the  day-dream  of  the 
demure  little  maid  was  that  in  time  she  might  be  a  "  high- 
seat"  Quaker.  Each  Sunday,  up  to  the  time  of  the  third 
disobedience,  Mr.  Anthony,  with  honest  faith,  went  to  his 
distant  Mecca,  the  Quaker  meeting-house,  some  thirteen  miles 
from  home,  wife  and  children  usually  accompanying  him  ; 
though,  as  non-members,  they  were  rigidly  excluded  from  all 
business  discussions.  Exclusion  was  very  pleasant  in  the 
bright  days  of  summer ;  but  not  so  for  the  seven  year-old 
Susan,  her  father's  sole  companion,  on  one  occasion  in  frosty 
December.  When  the  blinds  were  drawn  at  the  close  of  the 
religious  meeting,  and  non-members  retired,  Susan,  with  de- 
termination on  her  brow,  remained.  Soon  she  saw  a  thin  old 
lady  with  blue  goggles  come  down  from  the  "  high-seat." 


58  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

Approaching  her,  the  Quakeress  spoke  softly ;  and  Susan 
wondered  if  she  was  moved  by  the  spirit  when  she  said, 
"Thee  is  not  a  member, — thee  must  go  out."  "No;  my 
mother  told  me  not  to  go  out  in  the  cold,''  was  the  child's 
firm  response.  "Yes,  but  thee  must  go  out,  — thee  is  not  a 
member."  But  my  father  is  a  member."  Calm  logic  fol- 
lowed. "  Thee  is  not  a  member."  Finally,  with  all  the  voice 
she  could  muster,  the  child  pleads,  "  It  is  cold  !  "  But  t*he 
"  high-seat  "  constable  of  the  decencies  gently  answers,  "Thee 
must  go,"  and  Susan  felt  as  if  the  spirit  was  moving  her,  and 
soon  found  herself  in  outer  coldness.  Fingers  and  toes  be- 
coming numb,  and  a  bright  fire  in  a  cottage  over  the  way 
beckoning  warmly  to  her,  the  exile  from  the  chapel  of  the 
tender  mercies  resolved  to  seek  secular  shelter.  But  alas  ! 
she  was  confronted  by  an  advocate  of  "  might  makes  right," 
in  the  shape  of  a  huge  dog,  and  just  escaped  with  whole  skin 
though  capeless  jacket.  Stern  defender  this  was,  no  doubt, 
of  Quaker  faith  as  to  fitting  style  of  garment.  We  may  be 
sure  there  was  much  talk  that  night  at  the  home  fireside 

o 

about  "  high-seat  goggles,"  meaningless  forms,  and  cant,  and 
stern  resolution  was  taken  by  the  good  Baptist  wife  that  no 
child  of  hers  should  attend  meeting  again  till  made  a  mem- 
ber. "  So  it  was,"  says  Miss  Anthony,  "  by  means  of  a  rent 
in  my  best  jacket  that  I  can  lay  claim  to  being  a  member  of 
any  church. 

Later  definite  convictions  took  root  in  Miss  Anthony's 
heart.  Hers  is,  indeed,  a  sincerely  religious  nature,  — not 
of  the  "  blue-goggle"  sort,  but  of  the  humanitarian.  To  be  a 
simple,  earnest  Quaker  was  the  aspiration  of  her  girlhood  ; 
but  she  shrank  from  adopting  the  formal  language  and  plain 
dress.  Dark  hours  of  conflict  were  spent  over  all  this,  and 
she  interpreted  her  disinclination  as  evidence  of  un worthiness. 
Poor  little  Susan,  as  we  look  back  with  the  knowledge  of 
your  later  life,  we  translate  the  heart-burnings  as  unconscious 
protests  against  labelling  your  free  soul,  against  testing  your 
reasoning  conviction  of  to-morrow  by  any  shibboleth  of  to- 
day's belief.  We  hail  this  child-intuition  as  a  prophecy  of 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  59 

the  uncompromising  truthfulness  of  the  mature  woman.  Su- 
san Anthony  was  trained  to  no  dogmas,  —  taught  simply  that 
she  must  enter  into  the  holy  of  holies  of  her  own  self,  meet 
herself,  and  be  true  to  the  revelation.  She  first  found  words 
to  express  her  convictions  in  listening  to  William  Henry 
Channing,  whose  teaching  had  a  lasting  spiritual  influence 
upon  her.  To-day  Miss  Anthony  is  an  agnostic ;  as  to  the 
nature  of  the  Godhead,  and  of  the  life  beyond  her  horizon  she 
does  not  profess  to  know  anything.  Every  energy  of  her 
soul  is  centred  upon  the  needs  of  the  world.  To  her  work 
is  worship.  She  has  not  stood  aside  shivering  in  the  cold 
shadows  of  uncertainty  ;  but  has  moved  on  with  the  whirling 
world,  has  done  the  good  given  her  to  do,  and  thus  in  darkest 
hours  has  been  sustained  by  an  unfaltering  faith  in  the  final 
perfection  of  all  things.  Her  belief  is  not  orthodox,  but  it 
is  religious,  —  based  on  the  high  and  severe  moralities.  In 
ancient  Greece  she  would  have  been  a  Stoic ;  in  the  era  of 
the  Reformation,  a  Calvinist ;  in  King  Charles's  time,  a 
Puritan ;  but  in  this  nineteenth  century,  by  the  very  laws  of 
her  being,  she  is  a  Reformer. 

For  the  arduous  work  that  awaited  Miss  Anthony  her 
years  of  young  womanhood  had  given  preparation.  The 
father,  though  a  man  of  wealth,  made  it  a  matter  of  conscience 
to  train  his  girls  as  well  as  his  boys  to  honest  self-support. 
Accordingly  Susan  chose  the  profession  of  teacher,  and  made 
her  first  essay  during  a  summer  vacation,  in  a  school  her 
father  had  established  for  the  children  of  his  employees.  Her 
success  was  so  marked,  not  only  in  imparting  knowledge,  but 
also  as  a  disciplinarian,  that  she  followed  this  career  steadily, 
—  with  the  exception  of  some  months  given  in  Philadelphia 
to  her  own  training,  —  for  fifteen  years.  Of  the  ma»y  school 
rebellions  which  she  overcame  one  rises  before  me  prominent 
in  its  ludicrous  aspects.  Before  whirling  off  into  Miss 
Anthony's  broader  fields  of  conquest,  let  us  take  a  peep  into 
the  district  school  at  Centre  Falls,  in  the  year  1839.  Bad 
reports  were  current  there  of  male  teachers  ignominiously 
driven  out  by  a  certain  strapping  lad,  through  open  windows. 


60  SUSAN  B.  AXTHONT. 

Rumor  new  tells  of  a  Quaker  maiden  coming  to  teach,  Quaker 
maiden  of  peace  principles.  She  can  be  sent  out  circum- 
spectly by  open  door.  She  is  to  be  gently  dealt  with,  for 
she  's  against  floggings.  The  anticipated  day  and  Susan  arrive. 
She  looks  very  meek  to  the  barbarian  of  fifteen,  so  he  soon 
begins  his  antics.  He  is  called  to  the  platform,  told  to  lay 
aside  his  jacket,  and  thereupon  with  much  astonishment 
receives  from  the  mild  Quaker  maiden,  with  a  birch-rod 
applied  calmly  but  with  precision,  an  exposition  of  the 
argumentum  ad  hominem  based  on  the  a  posteriori  method 
of  reasoning.  Thus  Susan  departed  from  her  principles,  but 
not  from  her  school. 

But  now  there  are  mighty  conflicts  in  the  outside  world 
disturbing  our  young  teacher.  Her  mind  wanders ;  the 
multiplication-table  and  spelling-book  no  longer  enchain  her 
thoughts ;  larger  questions  begin  to  fill  her  mind.  About 
the  year  1850  Susan  B.  Anthony  hid  her  ferule  quite  away, 
and  put  off  her  laurel  crown  in  teach erdom.  Temperance, 
anti-slavery,  woman  suffrage,  —  three  pregnant  questions,  — 
presented  themselves,  demanding  consideration.  Higher, 
ever  higher,  rose  their  appeals,  until  she  resolved,  in  the 
silence  of  her  individual  self,  to  dedicate  her  every  energy  and 
thought  to  the  burning  needs  of  the  hour.  Owing  to  early 
experience  of  the  disabilities  of  her  sex,  the  first  demand  for 
equal  rights  for  women  found  echo  in  Susan  Anthony's  heart. 
And  though  she  was  in  the  beginning  startled  to  hear  that 
women  had  actually  met  in  convention,  and  by  speeches  and 
resolutions  declared  themselves  man's  peer  in  political  rights, 
urging  radical  changes  in  State  constitutions,  and  the  whole 
system  of  American  jurisprudence  ;  yet  the  most  casual  review 
convinced  her  that  these  claims  were  but  the  logical  outgrowth 
of  the  fundamental  theories  of  our  republic. 

Miss  Anthony  first  carried  her  red  flag  of  rebellion  into  the 
State  conventions  of  teachers,  and  there  fought,  almost  single- 
handed,  the  battle  of  equality.  At  the  close  of  the  first 
decade  she  had  compelled  conservatism  to  yield  its  ground  so 
far  as  to  permit  women  to  participate  in  all  debates,  deliver 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  61 

essays,  vote,  and  hold  honored  positions  as  officers.  She 
labored  as  sincerely  in  the  temperance  movement,  until  con- 
vinced that  woman's  moral  power  amounted  to  little  as  a  civil 
agent  until  backed  by  a  ballot,  and  coined  into  State  law. 
She  still  never  loses  an  occasion  to  defend  teetotalism  and 
prohibition  ;  but  to  every  question  the  refrain  of  Poe's  raven 
was  not  more  persistently  "never  more,"  than  Miss  Anthony's 
response,  "  woman  suffrage." 

It  was  in  1852  that  anti-slavery,  through  the  eloquent  lips 
of  such  men  as  Pillsbury,  George  Thompson,  Phillips,  and 
Garrison,  first  proclaimed  to  her  its  pressing  necessities.  To 
their  inspired  words  she  gave  answer  four  years  afterwards 
by  becoming  a  regularly  employed  agent  in  the  Anti-Slavery 
Society.  For  her  espoused  cause  she  has  always  made 
boldest  demands.  In  the  abolition  meetings  she  used  to  tell 
each  class  why  it  should  support  the  movement  financially, 
invariably  calling  upon  Democrats  to  give  liberally,  as  the 
success  of  the  cause  would  enable  them  to  cease  bowing  the 

o 

knee  to  the  slave  power,  and  to  be  "decent  sort  of  men." 
Mr.  Garrison  said,  the  first  time  he  heard  this  plea,  "Well, 
Miss  Anthony,  you  're  the  most  audacious  beggar  I  ever 
heard." 

There  is  scarce  a  town,  however  small,  from  New  York  to 
San  Francisco,  that  has  not  heard  the  ringing  voice  of  our 
heroine.  Who  can  number  the  speeches  she  has  made  on 
lyceum  platforms,  in  churches,  school-houses,  halls,  barns, 
and  in  the  open  air,  with  lumber  wagons  and  carts  for  her 
rostrum?  Who  can  describe  the  varied  audiences  and  social 
circles  she  has  cheered  and  interested?  Now  we  see  her  on 
the  far-off  prairies  entertaining,  with  her  sterling  common 
sense,  large  gatherings  of  men.  women,  and  children,  seated 
on  rough  boards  in  some  unfinished  building ;  again,  holding 
public  debates  in  some  town  with  half-fledged  editors  and 
clergymen  ;  next,  sailing  up  the  Columbia  River,  and,  in  hot 
haste  to  meet  some  appointment,  jolting  over  the  rough 
mountains  of  Oregon  and  Washington  Territories  ;  and,  then, 
before  legislative  assemblies,  constitutional  conventions,  and 


62  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

congressional  committees,  discussing  with  senators  and  judges 
the  letter  and  spirit  of  constitutional  law. 

Miss  Anthony's  style  of  speaking  is  rapid  and  vehement ; 
in  debate,  ready  and  keen ;  and  she  is  always  equal  to  an 
emergency.  Many  times  in  travelling  with  her  through  the 
West,  especially  on  our  first  trip  to  Kansas  and  California,  we 
were  suddenly  called  on  to  speak  to  the  women  assembled 
at  the  stations.  Filled  with  consternation,  I  usually  appealed 
to  her  to  go  first ;  and,  without  a  moment's  hesitation,  she 
could  always  fill  five  minutes  with  some  appropriate  words, 
and  inspire  me  with  thoughts  and  courage  to  follow.  The 
climax  of  these  occasions  was  in  an  institution  for  the  deaf 
and  dumb  in  Michigan.  I  had  just  said  to  my  friend,  "  There 
is  one  comfort  in  visiting  this  place,  we  shall  not  be  asked  to 
speak,"  when  the  superintendent  approaching  us  said,  "Ladies, 
the  pupils  are  assembled  in  the  chapel  ready  to  hear  you.  I 
promised  to  invite  you  to  speak  to  them  as  soon  as  I  heard 
you  were  in  town."  The  possibility  of  addressing  such  an 
audience  was  as  novel  to  Miss  Anthony  as  to  me ;  yet  she 
promptly  walked  down  the  aisle  to  the  platform  as  if  to  per- 
form an  ordinary  duty,  while  I,  half  distracted  with  anxiety, 
wondering  by  what  process  I  was  to  be  placed  in  communi- 
cation with  the  deaf  and  dumb,  reluctantly  followed.  But 
the  manner  was  simple  enough  when  illustrated.  The  super- 
intendent, standing  by  our  side,  repeated  in  the  sign  language 
what  was  said  as  fast  as  uttered,  and  by  tears,  laughter,  and 
earnest  attention  the  pupils  showed  that  they  fully  appreciated 
the  pathos,  humor,  and  argument. 

One  night,  crossing  the  Mississippi  at  McGregor,  Iowa,  we 
were  ice-bound  in  the  middle  of  the  river.  The  boat  was 
crowded  with  people,  standing  hungry,  tired,  cross  with  the 
delay.  Some  gentlemen,  with  whom  we  had  been  talking 
on  the  cars,  started  the  cry  for  a  speech  on  woman  suffrage. 
Accordingly,  in  the  middle  of  the  Mississippi  river,  at  mid- 
night, we  presented  our  claims  to  political  representation, 
and  debated  the  question  of  universal  suffrage  until  we  landed. 
Our  voyagers  were  quite  thankful  that  we  had  shortened  the 


SUSAN  3.  ANTHONY.  63 

many  hours,  and  we  equally  so  at  having  made  several  con- 
verts, and  held  a  convention  in  the  very  bosom  of  the  great 
"Father  of  Waters."  Only  once  in  all  these  wanderings  was 
Miss  Anthony  taken  by  surprise,  and  that  was  on  being  asked 
to  speak  to  the  inmates  of  an  insane  asylum.  "Bless  me," 
said  she,  "  it  is  as  much  as  I  can  do  to  talk  to  the  sane  ! 
What  could  I  say  to  an  audience  of  lunatics?"  Her  com- 
panion, Mrs.  Virginia  L.  Minor,  of  St.  Louis,  replied, — 
"  This  is  a  golden  moment  for  you,  —  the  first  opportunity  you 
have  ever  had,  according  to  the  constitutions,  to  talk  to  your 
'peers';  for  is  not  the  right  of  suffrage  denied  to  'idiots, 
criminals,  lunatics,  and  women?" 

Much  curiosity  has  been  expressed  as  to  the  love-life  of 
Miss  Anthony  ;  but  if  she  has  enjoyed  or  suffered  any  of  the 
usual  triumphs  or  disappointments  of  her  sex  she  has  not  yet 
vouchsafed  this  information  to  her  biographers.  While  few 
women  have  had  more  sincere  and  lasting  friendships,  or  a 
more  extensive  correspondence  with  a  large  circle  of  noble 
men,  yet  I  doubt  if  one  of  them  can  boast  of  having  received 
from  her  any  exceptional  attention.  She  has  often  playfully 
said,  when  questioned  on  this  point,  that  she  could  not  con- 
sent that  the  man  she  loved,  described  in  the  constitution  as 
a  white  male,  native-born,  American  citizen,  possessed  of  the 
right  of  self-government,  eligible  to  the  office  of  President  of 
the  great  Republic,  should  unite  his  destinies  in  marriage 
with  a  political  slave  and  pariah.  "  No,  no ;  when  I  am 
crowned  with  all  the  rights,  privileges,  and  immunities  of  a 
citizen,  I  may  give  some  consideration  to  these  social  prob- 
lems ;  but  until  then  I  must  concentrate  all  my  energies  on 
the  enfranchisement  of  my  own  sex."  Miss  Anthony's  love- 
life,  like  her  religion,  has  manifested  itself  in  steadfast, 
earnest  labors  for  man  in  general.  She  has  been  a  watchful 
and  affectionate  daughter,  sister,  friend ;  and  those  who  have 
felt  the  pulsations  of  her  great  heart,  know  how  warmly  it 
beats  for  all. 

As   the   custom   has  long  been  observed  among  married 
women  of  celebrating  the  anniversaries  of  their  wedding-day, 


64  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

quite  properly  the  initiation  has  been  taken,  in  late  years,  of 
doing  honor  to  the  great  events  in  the  lives  of  single  women. 
Being  united  in  closest  matrimony  to  her  profession,  Dr.  Har- 
riet K.  Hunt,  of  Boston,  celebrated  her  twenty-fifth  year  of 
faithful  service  as  a  physician  by  giving  to  her  friends  and 
patrons  a  large  reception,  which  she  called  her  silver-wed- 
ding. From  a  feeling  of  the  sacredness  of  her  life-work,  the 
admirers  of  Susan  B.  Anthony  have  been  moved  to  mark  by 
reception  and  conventions  her  rapid  flowing  years,  and  the 
passing  decades  of  the  suffrage  movement.  To  the  most 
brilliant  occasion  of  this  kind,  the  invitation  cards,  finely 
engraved,  with  the  letters  "  W.  B  "  elaborately  wrought  in  an 
embossed  monogram,  were  as  follows  :  — 

"  The  ladies  of  the  Woman's  Bureau  invite  you  to  a  reception 
on  Tuesday  evening,  February  15,  to  celebrate  the  fiftieth  birth- 
day of  Susan  B.  Anthony,  when  her  friends  will  have  an  oppor- 
tunity to  show  their  appreciation  of  her  long  services  in  behalf  of 
woman's  emancipation. 

"  ELIZABETH  B.  PHELPS, 
"ANNA  B.  DARLING, 
"  CHARLOTTE  BEEBE  WILBOUR. 
"49  EAST  23o  STREET,  NEW  YORK, 
February  10,  1870." 

In  response  to  the  invitation  the  parlors  at  the  Bureau  were 
crowded  with  friends  to  congratulate  Miss  Anthony  on  the 
happy  event,  many  bringing  valuable  gifts  as  an  expression 
of  their  gratitude.  Among  other  presents  were  a  handsome 
gold  watch,  and  checks  to  the  amount  of  a  thousand  dollars. 
The  guests  were  entertained  with  music,  recitations,  the  read- 
ing of  many  piquant  letters  of  regret  from  distinguished  peo- 
ple, and  witty  rhymes,  written  for  the  occasion  by  the  Gary 
sisters.  Miss  Anthony  received  her  guests  with  her  usual 
straightforward  simplicity,  and  in  a  few  earnest  w^ords  ex- 
pressed her  thanks  for  the  presents  and  praises  showered 
upon  her.  The  comments  of  the  leading  journals  next  day 
were  highly  complimentary  and  as  genial  as  amusing.  All 
dwelt  on  the  fact  that  at  last  a  woman  had  arisen  brave 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  65 

enough  to  assert  her  right  to  grow  old,  and  openly  declare 
that  half  a  century  had  rolled  over  her  head. 

As  a  writer  Miss  Anthony  is  clear  and  concise,  dealing  in 
facts  rather  than  rhetoric.  Of  carefully-prepared  written 
speeches  she  has  had  few ;  but  these,  by  the  high  praise  they 
called  forth,  prove  that  she  can  —  in  spite  of  her  own  declara- 
tion to  the  contrary  —  put  her  sterling  thoughts  on  paper 
concisely  and  effectively.  After  her  exhaustive  plea  in  1880 
for  a  XVIth  Amendment  before  the  Judiciary  Committee  of  the 
Senate,  Senator  Edmunds  accosted  her  as  she  was  leaving  the 
Capitol,  and  said  he  neglected  to  tell  her  in  the  committee- 
room  that  she  had  made  an  argument,  no  matter  what  his 
personal  feelings  were  as  to  the  conclusions  reached,  which 
was  unanswerable,  —  an  argument,  unlike  the  usual  platform 
oratory  given  at  hearings,  suited  to  a  committee  of  men 
trained  to  the  law. 

It  was  in  1876  that  Miss  Anthony  gave  her  much  criticised 
lecture  on  "Social  Purity"  in  Boston.  As  to  the  result  she 
felt  very  anxious ;  for  the  intelligence  of  New  England  com- 
posed her  audience,  and  it  did  not  still  her  heart-beats  to  see 
sitting  just  in  front  of  the  platform  her  revered  friend, 
William  Lloyd  Garrison.  But  surely  every  fear  vanished 
when  she  felt  the  grand  old  abolitionist's  hand  warmly  press- 
ing hers,  and  heard  him  say,  that  to  listen  to  no  one  else 
would  he  have  had  courage  to  leave  his  sick-room,  and  that  he 
felt  fully  repaid  by  her  grand  speech,  which  neither  in  matter 
nor  manner  would  he  have  changed  in  the  smallest  particular. 
But  into  Miss  Anthony's  private  correspondence  one  must 
look  for  examples  of  her  most  effective  writings.  Verb  or 
subject  is  usually  wanting,  but  you  can  always  catch  the 
thought,  and  will  ever  find  it  clear  and  suggestive.  It  is  a 
strikingly  strange  dialect,  but  one  that  touches  at  times  the 
deepest  chords  of  pathos  and  humor,  and,  when  stirred  by 
some  great  event,  is  highly  eloquent. 

From  being  the  most  ridiculed  and  mercilessly  persecuted 
woman,  Miss  Anthony  has  become  the  most  honored  and  re- 
spected in  the  nation.  Witness  the  praises  of  press  and  peo- 


66  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

pie,  and  the  enthusiastic  ovations  she  received  on  her  depart- 
ure for  Europe.  Never  were  warmer  expressions  of  regret 
for  an  absence,  nor  more  sincere  prayers  for  a  speedy  return, 
accorded  any  American  on  leaving  his  native  shores.  This 
slow  awaking  to  the  character  of  her  services  shows  the  abid- 
ing sense  of  justice  in  the  human  soul,  that,  sooner  or  later, 
seeks  to  atone  for  the  martyrdom  of  those  who  are  called  to 
expiate  the  sins  of  the  people.  Having  spent  the  winter  of 
1882-3  in  Washington,  trying  to  press  to  a  vote  the  bill  for  a 
XVI th  Amendment  before  Congress,  and  the  autumn  in  a 
vigorous  campaign  through  Nebraska,  where  a  constitutional 
amendment  to  enfranchise  women  had  been  submitted  to  the 
people,  she  felt  the  imperative  need  of  an  entire  change  in 
the  current  of  her  thoughts.  Accordingly,  after  one  of  the 
most  successful  conventions  ever  held  at  the  national  capital, 
and  a  most  flattering  ovation  in  the  spacious  parlors  of  the 
Riggs  House,  she  went  to  Philadelphia.  Here  she  was  given 
another  public  reception  by  the  Citizens'  Suffrage  Associa- 
tion, whose  president,  Mr.  Robert  Purvis,  presented  to  her, 
in  the  name  of  the  society,  an  engraved  testimonial  of  their 
regard  and  allegiance.  To  some  it  may  suggest  a  pregnant 
thought  that  the  date  of  Miss  Anthony's  departure  for  Europe 
was  the  birthday  anniversary  of  the  first  President  of  the 
United  States. 

Fortunate  in  being  perfectly  well  during  the  entire  voyage, 
our  traveller  received  perpetual  enjoyment  in  watching  the 
ever-varying  sea  and  sky.  To  the  captain's  merry  challenge 
to  find  anything  so  grand  as  the  ocean,  she  replied :  "  Yes, 
these  mighty  forces  in  nature  do  indeed  fill  me  with  awe ;  but 
this  vessel,  with  deep-buried  fires,  powerful  machinery, 
spacious  decks,  and  tapering  masts,  walking  the  waves  like 
a  thing  of  life,  and  all  the  work  of  man,  impresses  one  still 
more  deeply.  Lo  !  in  man's  divine  creative  power  is  fulfilled 
the  prophecy,  '  Ye  shall  be  as  gods  ! '  " 

In  all  her  journeyings  through  Germany,  Italy,  and 
France,  Miss  Anthony  was  never  the  traveller,  but  always 
the  humanitarian  incognito,  the  reformer  in  traveller's  guise. 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  67 

Few  of  the  great  masterpieces  of  art  gave  her  real  enjoy- 
ment ;  the  keen  appreciation  of  the  beauties  of  sculpture, 
painting,  architecture,  one  would  have  expected  to  find  in  so 
deep  a  religious  nature,  was  wanting,  warped,  no  doubt,  by 
her  early  training  in  Quaker  utilities.  That  her  travels  gave 
her  more  pain  than  pleasure,  was,  perhaps,  not  so  much  that 
she  had  no  appreciation  of  aesthetic  beauty,  but  that  she 
quickly  grasped  the  infinitude  of  human  misery  ;  not  because 
her  soul  did  not  feel  the  heights  to  which  art  had  risen,  but 
that  it  vibrated  in  every  fibre  to  the  depths  to  which  man- 
kind had  fallen.  Wandering  through  a  gorgeous  palace  one 
day,  she  exclaimed,  "What  do  you  find  to  admire  here?  If  it 
were  a  school  of  five  hundred  children  being  educated  into 
the  right  of  self-government,  I  could  admire  it,  too ;  but 
standing  for  one  man's  pleasure,  I  say,  No  !  "  In  the  quarters 
of  one  of  the  devotees,  at  the  old  monastery  of  the  Certosa, 
there  lies,  on  a  small  table,  an  open  book  in  which  visitors 
register  themselves.  On  the  occasion  of  Miss  Anthony's 
visit  the  pen  and  ink  proved  so  unpromising  that  her  entire 
party  declined  this  opportunity  to  make  themselves  famous. 
But  our  heroine  looked  higher  than  individual  glory,  and 
made  the  rebellious  pen  inscribe  the  principle,  "Perfect 
equality  for  woman,  social,  political,  religious.  Susan  B. 
Anthony,  U.  S.  A."  Friends  who  visited  the  monastery  next 
day  reported  that  lines  had  been  drawn  through  this  heretical 
sentiment. 

During  her  visit  at  the  Berlin  home  of  Senator  and  Mrs. 
Sargent,  Miss  Anthony  quite  innocently  posted  her  letters 
in  the  official  envelopes  of  the  Suffrage  Association  of  Amer- 
ica. After  the  revolutionary  sentiment,  "  No  just  govern- 
ment can  be  formed  without  the  consent  of  the  governed," 
printed  on  the  outside,  had  been  carefully  examined  by 
the  German  officials,  all  the  letters  were  returned ;  prob- 
ably nothing  saving  her  from  arrest  as  a  socialist  under 
the  tyrannical  police  regulations  but  the  fact  that  she  was 
the  guest  of  the  Minister  Plenipotentiary  of  the  United 
States. 

5 


68  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

Miss  Anthony's  host,  during  her  visit  in  Paris,  writes  :  "I 
had  never  before  seen  her  in  the  rdle  of  tourist.  She  seemed 
interested  only  in  historical  monuments  and  in  the  men  and 
questions  of  the  hour.  The  galleries  of  the  Louvre  had  little 
attraction  for  her,  but  she  gazed  with  deep  pleasure  at  Napo- 
leon's tomb,  Notre  Dame,  and  the  ruins  of  the  Tuilleries. 
She  was  always  ready  to  listen  to  discussions  on  the  political 
problems  before  the  French  people,  the  prospects  of  the 
republic,  the  divorce  agitation,  and  the  revolution  in  favor  of 
women's  instruction.  fl  had  rather  see  Jules  Ferry  than  all 
the  pictures  of  the  Louvre,  Luxembourg,  and  Salon,'  she 
remarked  at  table.  A  day  or  two  later  she  saw  Ferry  at 
Laboulaye's  funeral.  The  three  things  which  made  the 
deepest  impression  on  Miss  Anthony,  during  her  stay  at 
Paris,  were  probably  the  interment  of  Laboulaye,  the  friend 
of  the  United  States  and  of  the  women's  movement ;  the 
touching  anniversary  demonstration  of  the  Communists,  at 
the  Cemetery  of  Pere  La  Chaise,  on  the  very  spot  where  the 
last  defenders  of  the  Commune  of  1871  were  ruthlessly  shot 
and  buried  in  a  common  grave  ;  and  a  woman's  rights  meet- 
ing, held  in  a  little  hall  in  the  Rue  de  Rivoli,  at  which  the 
brave,  far-seeing  Mile.  Hubertine  Auchet  was  the  leading 
spirit. 

While  on  the  continent,  Miss  Anthony  experienced  the 
unfortunate  sensation  of  being  deaf  and  dumb ;  to  speak  and 
not  be  understood,  to  hear  and  not  comprehend,  were  to  her 
bitter  realities.  We  can  imagine  to  what  desperation  she 
was  brought,  when  her  Quaker  prudishness  could  hail  an 
emphatic  oath  in  English  from  a  French  official  with  the 
exclamation,  "Well,  it  sounds  good  to  hear  some  one  even 
swear  in  old  Anglo-Saxon  !  "  After  two  months  of  enforced 
silence,  she  was  buoyant  in  reaching  the  British  Islands  once 
more,  where  she  could  enjoy  public  speaking  and  general  con- 
versation. Here  she  was  the  recipient  of  many  generous 
social  attentions,  and  on  May  25  a  large  public  meeting  of 
representative  people,  presided  over  by  John  Bright,  was 
called  in  her  honor  by  the  National  Association  of  Great 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  69 

Britain.  She  spoke  on  the  educational  and  political  status 
of  America,  leaving  to  me  the  religious  and  social  position  of 
our  countrywomen. 

Before  closing  my  friend's  biography,  I  shall  trace  two 
golden  threads  in  this  closely-woven  life  of  incident.  One 
of  the  greatest  services  rendered  by  Miss  Anthony  to  the 
suffrage  cause  was  in  casting  a  vote  in  the  Presidential 
election  of  1872,  in  order  to  test  her  rights  under  the  XlVth 
Amendment.  For  this  offence  the  brave  woman  was  arrested 
on  Thanksgiving  Day,-  the  national  holiday  handed  down  to 
us  by  Pilgrim  Fathers  escaped  from  England's  persecutions. 
New  World  republicanism,  based  on  inconsistencies,  does  not 
contrast  favorably  with  Old  World  injustice,  founded  on  pro- 
scriptive  rights.  But  this  farce  of  the  equities  hastens  on 
quickly  to  its  close.  Miss  Anthony  appeals  for  a  ivrit  of 
habeas  corpus.  The  writ  being  flatly  refused  her  in  January, 
1873,  the  courtly  counsel  gives  bonds.  Our  daring  defendant, 
finding,  when  too  late,  that  this  not  only  keeps  her  out  of 
jail,  but  her  case  out  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United 
States,  regretfully  determines  to  fight  on  and  gain  the  utter- 
most by  a  State  decision.  Her  trial  is  appointed  for  the 
Rochester  term  in  May.  Quickly  she  canvasses  the  whole 
country,  laying  before  every  probable  juror  the  strength  of 
her  case.  The  time  of  trial  arrives  ;  but  the  Attorney-Gen- 
eral, fearing  the  result  if  decision  be  left  to  a  jury  drawn  from 
Miss  Anthony's  enlightened  county,  postpones  the  trial  to 
the  Ontario  County  Session,  in  June,  1873.  Another  county  is 
now  to  be  instructed  in  all  its  length  and  breadth.  So  short 
is  the  time  that  Miss  Anthony  asked  and  received  valuable 
assistance  from  Matilda  Joslyn  Gage ;  and  to  meet  all  this 
new  expense,  financial  aid  was  generously  given,  unsolicited, 
by  Thomas  Wentworth  Higginson,  Gerrit  Smith,  and  other 
sympathizers.  But  in  vain  was  every  effort ;  in  vain  the 
appeal  of  Miss  Anthony  to  her  jurors ;  in  vain  the  logical 
argument  of  her  gifted  counsel,  Henry  R.  Selden ;  in  vain 
the  moral  influence  of  the  leading  representatives  of  the  bar 
of  Central  New  York  filling  the  court-room,  for  Judge  Hunt, 


70  SUSAN  B.  ANTHCXNT. 

without  sympathy  or  precedent  to  sustain  him,  declaring  it  a 
case  of  law  and  not  fact,  refuses  to  give  the  case  to  the  jury, 
reserving  to  himself  final  decision.  Is  it  not  an  historic  scene 
being  enacted  here  in  this  little  court-house  of  Canandaigua  ? 
Do  we  not  witness  there  all  the  inconsistencies  embodied  in 
this  judge,  so  punctilious  in  manner,  so  scrupulous  in  attire, 
so  conscientious  in  trivialities,  and  so  obtuse  on  great  prin- 
ciples, fitly  described  by  Charles  O' Conner,  "  a  very  lady-like 
judge."  Behold  him  sitting  there,  balancing  all  the  niceties 
of  law  and  equity  in  his  Old  World  scales,  and  at  last  saying, 
w  The  prisoner  will  stand  up.  [Whereupon  the  accused  arose.] 
The  sentence  of  the  court  is,  that  you  pay  a  fine  of  one  hun- 
dred dollars  and  the  costs  of  the  prosecution."  Strange, 
unruly  defendant,  this :  "  May  it  please  your  honor,  I  shall 
never  pay  a  dollar  of  your  unjust  penalty,'4 — and  more  to 
the  same  effect,  all  of  which  she  has  lived  up  to.  The  "lady- 
like "  judge  has  gained  some  insight  into  the  determination 
of  the  prisoner ;  so,  not  wishing  to  incarcerate  her  to  all 
eternity,  he  adds  gently,  ''Madame,  the  court  will  not 
order  you  committed  until  the  fine  is  paid.'' 

It  was  on  the  17th  of  June  that  the  verdict  was  given ;  the 
decision  was  a  victory  for  the  inconsistencies.  On  that 
very  day,  a  little  more  than  a  century  before,  other  injustices 
gained  in  an  encounter  with  truth.  The  brave  militia  was 
driven  back  at  Bunker's  Hill, — back,  back,  almost  wiped  out ; 
yet  truth  was  in  their  ranks,  and  justice,  too  ;  but  how  ended 
this  rebellion  of  weak  colonists?  The  cause  of  American 
womanhood,  embodied  for  the  moment  in  the  liberty  of  a 
single  individual,  received  a  rebuff  on  June  17,  1873  ;  but 
just  so  sure  as  our  Revolutionary  heroes  were  in  the  end 
victorious,  so  sure  will  the  alienable  rights  of  our  heroines 
of  the  nineteenth  century  receive  final  vindication. 

In  his  speech  of  1880  before  the  Phi  Beta  Kappa  Society  at 
Harvard,  Wendell  Phillips  said  —  what  as  a  rule  is  true — 
that  a  reformer  to  be  conscientious  must  be  free  from  bread- 
winning.  I  should  like  to  open  my  heroine's  account-book 
and  show  that  this  reformer,  being  perhaps  the  exception 


SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY.  71 

which  proves  the  rule,  has  been  consistently  and  conscien- 
tiously in  debt.  Turning  over  her  year-books  the  pages  give 
a  fair  record  up  to  1863.  Here  begins  her  first  herculean 
labor.  The  Woman's  Loyal  League,  sadly  in  need  of  funds,  is 
not  an  incorporated  association,  so  its  secretary  assumes  the 
debts.  Accounts  here  became  quite  lamentable,  the  deficit 
reaching  five  thousand  dollars.  It  must  be  paid,  and,  in 
fact,  will  be  paid.  Anxious,  weary  hours  were  spent  in 
crowding  Cooper  Institute,  from  week  to  week,  with  paid 
audiences,  to  listen  to  such  men  as  Phillips,  Curtis,  and 
Douglass,  who  contributed  their  services,  and  lifted  the 
secretary  out  of  debt.  Next  a  cunning  device  was  resorted  to 
in  asking  the  people  who  signed  petitions  against  slavery  to 
contribute  a  cent  each.  "Audacious  beggar,"  this?  Yes,  and 
successful,  too.  At  last,  after  many  wanderings,  we  see  cash- 
book  1863  honorably  pigeon-holed.  In  1867  we  can  read 
account  of  herculean  labor  the  second.  Twenty  thousand 
tracts  are  needed  to  convert  the  voters  of  Kansas  to  woman 
suffrage.  That  occasions  all  the  sorry  plights  revealed  in  the 
accounts  of  this  year.  Travelling  expenses  to  Kansas  and 
the  rebellious  tracts  make  the  debtor  column  overreach  the 
creditor  some  two  thousand  dollars.  There  is  recognition  on 
these  pages  of  more  than  one  thousand  dollars  obtained  by 
soliciting  advertisements,  but  no  note  is  made  of  the  weary, 
burning  July  days  spent  in  the  streets  of  New  York  to 
procure  this  money,  nor  of  the  ready  application  of  the 
savings  made  by  petty  economies  from  her  salary  from  the 
Hovey  Committee.  Enough  is  it  to  say  that  herculean  labor 
number  two  reached  a  victorious  conclusion  —  cash-book  1867 
honorable  burial  in  some  pigeon-hole ;  and  chiefest  wonder, 
that  our  bread-winning  reformer  remained  conscientiously 
faithful  to  the  truth  revealed  in  her. 

It  would  have  been  fortunate  for  our  brave  Susan,  if  cash- 
books  1868,  1869,  and  1870  had  never  come  down  from  their 
shelves  ;  for  they  sing  and  sing  in  notes  of  debts  till  all  unite 
in  one  vast  chorus  of  more  than  ten  thousand  dollars.  These 
were  the  days  of  the  "  He  volution,"  the  newspaper,  not  the  war, 


72  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

though  this  was  warfare  for  the  debt-ridden  manager.  What 
is  to  be  done?  is  the  question.  Well,  five  thousand  dollars 
she  paid  with  her  fees  for  lecturing,  and  with  money  given  her 
for  personal  use.  One  Thanksgiving  was  in  truth  a  time  of 
returning  thanks;  for  she  received,  cancelled,  from  her 
cousin,  Mr.  Lapham,  her  note  for  four  thousand  dollars. 
After  the  funeral  of  Paulina  Wright  Davis,  the  bereaved 
widower  pressed  into  Miss  Anthony's  hand  cancelled  notes 
for  five  hundred  dollars,  bearing  on  the  back  the  words,  "  In 
memory  of  my  beloved  wife."  One  other  note  was  cancelled 
in  recognition  of  her  perfect  forgetfulness  of  self-interest  and 
ready  sacrifice  to  the  needs  of  others.  When  laboring  in 
1874  to  fill  every  engagement  in  order  to  meet  her  debts  her 
mother's  sudden  illness  called  her  home.  Without  one 
selfish  regret,  the  anxious  daughter  hastened  to  Rochester. 
When  recovery  was  certain,  and  Miss  Anthony  was  about  to 
return  to  her  fatiguing  labors,  her  mother  gave  her  at  parting 
her  note  for  a  thousand  dollars,  on  which  was  written,  in 
trembling  lines,  "  In  just  consideration  of  the  tender  sacrifice 
made  to  nurse  me  in  severe  illness."  At  last  all  the  "Revolu- 
tion "  debt  was  paid,  except  that  due  to  her  generous  sister, 
Mary  Anthony,  who  used  often  humorously  to  assure  her  she 
was  a  fit  subject  for  the  bankrupt  act.  But  nothing  daunted, 
this  Hercules  of  the  nineteenth  century  vanquished  creditor 
after  creditor,  and  in  1876  cash-books  of  revolutionary  epoch 
were  safely  pigeon-holed. 

There  is  something  humorously  pathetic  in  the  death  of  this 
first-born  of  Miss  Anthony,  whose  life  proved  too  rebellious 
and  erratic  for  even  her  democratic  nature.  Mrs.  Laura 
Curtis  Bullard  generously  assumed  the  care  of  the  trouble- 
some child,  and  in  order  to  make  the  adoption  legal,  gave 
the  usual  one  dollar  greenback.  The  very  night  of  the 
transfer  Miss  Anthony  went  to  Rochester  with  the  almighty 
dollar  in  her  pocket,  and  the  little  change  left  after  purchas- 
ing her  ticket.  She  arrived  safely  with  her  debts,  but  nothing 
more,  —  her  pocket  had  been  picked  !  Oh,  thief,  would  you 
could  but  know  what  value  of  faithful  work  you  purloined  ! 


SUSAN  B.  ANTH01S[Y.  73 

From  the  close  of  the  year  1876,  annals  show  favorable  signs  as 
to  the  credit  column  ;  indeed,  at  the  end  of  five  years,  there  is 
a  solid  balance  of  several  thousand  dollars  earned  on  severe 
lecturing  tours.  But  alas  !  the  accounts  grow  dim  again,  —  in 
fact,  credit  column  fades  quite  away.  Herculean  labor  in 
form  of  "  Woman  Suffrage  History  "  rises  up,  and  ruthlessly 
swallows  every  vestige  of  Miss  Anthony's  bank  account, 
excepting  one  thousand  dollars  reserved  for  the  European 
trip.  Within  the  past  two  years  she  has  been  left  some 
twenty  thousand  dollars,  in  trust  for  the  cause  of  woman 
suffrage,  by  the  will  of  Mrs.  Eddy,  daughter  of  Francis  Jack- 
son ;  but,  as  the  will  is  in  litigation,  no  part  of  the  money  has 
as  yet  been  received. 

In  vain  will  you  search  these  tell-tale  books  for  evidence 
of  personal  extravagance  ;  for  although  Miss  Anthony  thinks 
it  true  economy  to  buy  the  best,  and  like  Carlyle  dislikes 
shams,  her  tastes  are  simple  even  to  Quaker  excess.  Is  there  not 
something  very  touching  in  the  fact  that  she  has  never  bought 
even  a  book  or  picture  for  her  own  enjoyment?  The  meagre, 
personal  balance-sheets  show  but  four  lapses  from  severest 
discipline,  lapses  that  she  even  now  regards  as  ruthless  ex- 
travagances,—  the  purchase  of  two  inexpensive  brooches,  a 
much-needed  watch,  and  a  pair  of  cuffs  to  match  a  point-lace 
collar  presented  by  a  friend.  Long  since,  friends  interested 
in  Miss  Anthony's  personal  appearance  have  ceased  to  trust 
her  with  the  purchase-money  for  any  ornament ;  for,  however 
firm  her  resolution  to  comply  with  y our  wish,  the  check 
invariably  finds  its  way  to  the  credit  column  of  these  same 
little  cash-books  as  "  money  received  for  the  cause."  Now, 
reader,  you  have  been  admitted  to  a  private  view  of  Miss 
Anthony's  financial  records,  and  you  can  appreciate  her  devo- 
tion to  an  idea.  Do  you  not  agree  with  me  that  a  "  bread- 
winner "  can  be  a  conscientious  reformer  ? 

In  finishing  this  sketch  of  the  most  intimate  friend  I  have 
had  for  the  past  thirty  years,  —  with  whom  I  have  spent  weeks 
and  months  under  the  same  roof,  —  I  can  truly  say  she  is  the 
most  upright,  courageous,  self-sacrificing,  magnanimous 


74  SUSAN  B.  ANTHONY. 

human  being  I  have  ever  known.  I  have  seen  her  beset  on 
every  side  with  the  most  petty  annoyances,  ridiculed  and  mis- 
represented, slandered  and  persecuted  ;  I  have  known  women 
refuse  to  take  her  extended  hand  without  vouchsafing  an 
explanation,  women  to  whom  she  presented  handsomely 
bound  copies  of  the  "  History  of  Woman  Suffrage,"  return  it 
unnoticed,  others  keep  it  without  one  word  of  acknowledg- 
ment, others  write  most  insulting  "letters  in  answer  to  hers  of 
affectionate  conciliation.  And  yet,  under  all  the  cross-fires 
incident  to  a  reform,  never  has  her  hope  flagged,  her  self- 
respect  wavered,  nor  a  feeling  of  revenge  shadowed  her  mind. 
Oftentimes  when  I  have  been  sorely  discouraged,  thinking 
that  the  prolonged  struggle  was  a  waste  of  forces,  that  in 
other  directions  might  be  rich  in  achievement,  with  her  sub- 
lime faith  in  humanity,  she  would  breathe  into  my  soul 
renewed  inspiration,  saying,  "  Pity  rather  than  blame  those  who 
persecute  us."  In  their  present  condition  of  slavery  women 
cannot  have  any  esprit  de  corps ;  they  are  the  victims  of  gen- 
erations of  bigotry,  prejudice,  and  oppression.  If  you  can- 
not stand  the  malignity  of  an  enemy,  and  the  treason  of  a 
friend,  where  and  how  can  I  reinforce  myself  for  the  conflict. 
Thus  have  we  supplemented  each  other ;  and  through 
these  long  years,  though  striving,  side  by  side,  as  writers,  as 
speakers  in  conventions  and  on  the  lyceum  platform,  and  as 
officers  in  an  influential  national  society,  never  has  a  single 
break  come  in  our  friendship,  never  has  one  feeling  of  envy 
marred  the  happiness  of  each  in  the  success  of  the  other.  So 
closely  interwoven  have  been  our  lives,  our  purposes,  and 
experiences,  that  separated  we  have  a  feeling  of  incomplete- 
ness, —  united  such  strength  of  self-assertion  that  no  ordinary 
obstacles,  difficulties,  or  dangers  ever  appear  to  us  insur- 
mountable. Eeviewing  the  life  of  Susan  B.  Anthony,  I  ever 
liken  her  to  the  Doric  column  in  Grecian  architecture,  so 
simply,  so  grandly  she  stands,  free  from  every  extraneous 
ornament,  supporting  her  one  vast  idea,  —  the  enfranchise- 
ment of  woman. 


CHAPTER  III. 
CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

BY  HARRIET  BEECHER  STOWE. 

A  Leaf  from  Dr.  Lyman  Beecher's  Diary —  The  Old  Parsonage  at  Litchfield 

—  Miss  Beecher's  Early  Education  —  Her  Keen  Sense  of  Humor  —  A 
Sprightly  Poem  —  Lines  Written  on  the  Death  of  Her  Mother  —  Her  First 
Published  Poems  — "Who  is  this  C.  D.  D. ?"— Engagement  to  Prof. 
Alexander  M.  Fisher  —  Bright  Prospects  for  the  Future  —  Prof.  Fisher 
Sails  for  England  —  Shipwreck  of  the  "  Albion,"  and  Death  of  Prof.  Fisher 

—  The  Survivor's  Narrative  of  the  Shipwreck  —  Effect  of  the  Distress- 
ing News  —  Miss  Beecher  Establishes  the  Hartford  Female  Seminary  — 
Her  Energy  and  Incessant  Activity  —  Last  years  of  Her  Life  —  Her  Death 

—  Lines  Written  to  a  Dying  Friend. 

gfe.ISS  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER,  celebrated  in 
a  past  generation  as  a  leader  in  the  cause  of 
female  education,  was  the  oldest  child  of  the 
numerous  family  of  Dr.  Lyman  Beecher.  She 
was  born  at  East  Hampton,  an  obscure  parish 
on  the  shores  of  Long  Island  Sound,  where 
her  fathers  ministerial  career  commenced. 

Among  the  family  relics  is  a  leaf  from  Dr. 
Beecher's  diary,  a  fragment  yellow  with  age  and 
bearing  the  following  entry  :  — 

"SATURDAY,  September  6,  1800. 

"This  moment,  blessed  be  God,  my  dear,  dear  wife  is 
delivered  of  a  daughter,  and  my  soul,  my  very  soul  from 
agony.  Oh,  may  I  never  forget  the  goodness  of  God  who 
has  heard  our  prayer.  Jesus !  Thou  former  of  the  body 
and  father  of  the  spirit,  accept  as  Thine  the  immortal  soul 
Thou  hast  ushered  into  life.  Take,  O  take  it  to  be  Thine 
before  it  cling  round  my  heart,  and  never  suffer  us  to  take  it 
back  again.  May  it  live  to  glorify  Thee  on  earth,  and  to 

75 


76  CATHERINE  E.   BEECHEK. 

enjoy  Thee  forever  in  heaven.  Now,  Lord,  we  look  to  Thee 
for  grace  to  help  us  rear  it  for  Thee, — may  it  be  Thine 
forever,  Amen  and  Amen." 

The  spirit  of  devout  earnestness  expressed  in  this  relic  was 
characteristic  of  the  whole  life  of  Dr.  Beecher.  His  minis- 
terial career,  afterwards  so  celebrated,  commenced  in  earnest 
missionary  labors  in  this  obscure  field.  Every  night  during 
the  week  he  held  some  meeting  along  the  shore,  now  among 
the  Montauk  Indians  and  now  in  a  little  settlement  of  free 
blacks, — and  again  in  the  East  Hampton  village  proper. 
The  first  nine  years  of  Miss  Beecher's  life  were  spent  in  this 
region.  As  her  father's  eldest  child  she  became  his  compan- 
ion, and  often  was  taken  in  the  old  chaise  between  him  and 
her  mother  to  his  pastoral  visitations.  Mrs.  Beecher  was  a 
woman  uniting  a  rare  culture  with  great  strength  and  sweet- 
ness. As  the  salary  of  the  parish  was  a  limited  one,  she 
opened  a  family  school,  receiving  a  select  number  of  young 
ladies  to  study  under  her  instruction.  She  was  aided  in 
these  cares  by  a  sister,  a  lady  of  great  beauty,  elegance,  and 
refinement,  to  whose  early  instructions  Miss  Beecher  often 
recurred  as  having  a  strong  influence  upon  her  life. 

In  her  ninth  year  Dr.  Beecher  removed  to  Litchfield,  Conn., 
a  mountain  town  celebrated  alike  for  the  beauty  of  its 
scenery  and  the  exceptional  cultivation  and  refinement  of  its 
inhabitants.  The  law  school  under  Judge  Reeves,  and  sub- 
sequently under  Judge  Gould,  drew  to  the  place  students 
from  every  part  of  the  Union.  The  female  seminary,  under 
Miss  Sarah  Pearse,  and  Mr.  J.  P.  Brace,  drew  every  year 
hundreds  of  young  ladies  —  while  the  resident  families  of 
the  town  numbered  many  of  a  class  distinguished  by  intel- 
lectual culture  and  refinement. 

The  house,  which  was  bought  by  Dr.  Beecher,  and  which  is 
remembered  still  as  the  early  home  of  the  family,  was  a  large, 
plain,  old-fashioned  mansion,  shaded  by  elms  and  maples. 
The  front  windows  commanded  a  beautiful  prospect,  where 
the  waters  of  two  lovely  lakes  gleamed  out  from  encircling 
forests  of  pines,  and  the  blue  outlines  of  Mount  Tom  rose 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER  77 

in  the  distance.  On  another  side  the  wooded  heights  of 
Chestnut  Hills  were  covered  with  a  veil  of  native  forest  trees, 
which  in  spring,  summer,  and  autumn  gave  a  rich  and 
varied  horizon  of  verdure.  The  village  street  was  wide  and 
green,  overshadowed  with  lofty  trees,  and  giving  glimpses 
through  deep,  shady  yards  of  the  ample  white  houses  which, 
encircled  by  stately,  old-fashioned  gardens,  stood  in  summer- 
time with  doors  and  windows  hospitably  open.  Here,  under 
the  care  of  Miss  Pearse,  Miss  Beecher  began  her  career  as  a 
school-girl. 

Possessed  of  perfect  health  and  an  unfailing  store  of  cheer- 
fulness and  energy,  warm-hearted,  enthusiastic,  and  vigorous, 
Catherine  Beecher  was  a  universal  favorite,  both  with  teach- 
ers and  companions.  In  music,  painting,  poetry,  and 
general  literature  she  evinced  both  taste  and  talent,  —  she 
soon  learned  to  play  on  the  piano,  and  sing  quite  a  repertoire 
of  the  songs  and  ballads  then  in  vogue.  She  also  showed  an 
early  and  ready  talent  for  versification,  and  at  a  very  early 
age  her  poetical  effusions  were  handed  about  among  her 
family  friends,  and  helped  diversify  the  routine  of  the  parson- 
age. Most  of  them  were  of  a  sprightly  and  humorous  turn, 
called  forth  by  some  domestic  chance  or  mischance,  such  as 
the  breaking  of  the  largest  dish  in  a  new  dinner-service,  which 
was  thus  bewailed  :  — 

"  High  mounted  on  the  dresser's  side, 
Our  brown-edged  platter  stood  with  pride ! 
A  neighboring  door  flew  open  wide, 
Knocked  out  its  brains,  —  and  straight,  it  died. 

"  Come,  kindred  platters,  with  me  mourn, 
Hither,  ye  plates  and  dishes,  turn ! 
Knives,  forks,  and  carvers,  all  give  ear, 
And  each  drop  a  dish-water  tear  ! 

"  No  more  with  smoking  roast-beef  crowned 
Shall  guests  this  noble  dish  surround, 
Roast  pig  no  more  here  show  his  vizard, 
Nor  goose  —  nor  even  goose's  gizzard. 


78  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

"  But  broken-hearted  must  it  go 
Down  to  the  dismal  shades  below, 
While  kitchen  muses,  platters,  plates, 
Knives,  forks,  and  spoons  upbraid  the  Fates ; 
With  streaming  tears  cry  out  "  I  never,"  — 
Our  brown-edged  platter's  gone  forever ! 

Another  sprightly  lyric  detailed  the  nocturnal  capers  and 
frolics  of  the  rats  that  infested  the  walls  of  the  old  parsonage, 
and  were  set  forth  under  the  title  of  "  The  Great  Ratification 
Meeting."  In  her  later  years  Miss  Beecher  amused  herself 
with  collecting  and  arranging  the  memorials  of  these  early 
days  in  Litchfield,  under  the  head  of  "  The  Merriment  and 
Romance  of  My  Early  Life,"  and  often  said,  in  looking  back, 
that  her  young  life  seemed  to  her  one  continued  frolic. 
Picnics,  promenades,  concerts,  parties  of  pleasure,  in  all  of 
which  she  was  the  animating  spirit,  succeeded  each  other 
with  the  varying  months. 

In  her  sixteenth  year  came  the  first  stroke  that  taught  her 
the  reality  of  life.  On  the  night  of  September  25,  1816, 
after  a  short  illness,  her  mother  died,  the  mother  who  had 
been  to  her  teacher,  friend,  and  guide  for  so  many  years. 
Instead  of  gay  and  fanciful  lyrics,  she  now  wrote  in  a  graver, 
sadder  strain,  lines  entitled  "  The  East  Graveyard  of 
Litchfield  " :  — 

"  The  busy  hum  of  day  is  o'er, 

The  scene  is  sweet  and  still, 
And  modest  eve,  with  blushes  warm, 
Walks  o'er  the  western  hill ; 

"  All  nature  round  looks  sweetly  sad, 

And  smiles  with  pensive  gloom, 
The  evening  breeze  soft  gliding  by 
Seems  sighing  o'er  the  tomb. 

"  The  great,  the  good,  the  weak,  the  wise, 

Lie  shrouded  here  in  gloom, 
And  here,  with  aching  heart,  I  mark 
My  own  dear  mother's  tomb. 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  79 

"  Oh,  as  upon  her  peaceful  grave 

I  fix  my  weeping  eyes, 
How  many  fond  remembrances 
In  quick  succession  rise. 

"  Again  I  see  her  gentle  form, 

As  when  in  infant  days, 
And  through  my  sporting  childish  years, 
She  guarded  all  my  ways. 

"  As  when,  writh  fond  and  anxious  care, 

She  watched  my  early  day, 
And  through  the  dangerous  snares  of  youth 
She  gently  cleared  my  way. 

"  Far  through  the  vista  of  past  years 

As  memory  can  extend, 
She  walked,  my  counsellor  and  guide, 
My  guardian  and  my  friend. 

"  From  works  of  science  and  of  taste, 

How  richly  stored  her  mind  ; 

And  yet  how  mild  in  all  her  ways, 

How  modest,  meek,  and  kind. 

"Religion's  pure  and  heavenly  light 

Illumined  all  her  road  ; 
Before  her  house  she  led  the  way 
To  virtue  and  to  God. 

"  Like  some  fair  orb  she  blessed  my  way 

With  mild  and  grateful  light  ; 
Till  called  from  hence  the  opening  heavens 
Received  Ler  from  my  sight. 


left  in  dark  and  dubious  paths, 
I  mourn  her  guidance  o'er, 
And  sorrow  that  my  longing  eyes 
Shall  see  her  face  no  more. 

"  Father  in  Heaven  !  my  mother's  God, 

Oh,  grant  before  Thy  seat, 
Among  the  blessed  sons  of  light, 
Parent  and  child  again  may  meet. 


80  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

"  There  may  I  see  her  happy  face, 

And  hear  her  gentle  voice, 
And  gladdened  by  Thy  gracious  smile 
Through  endless  years  rejoice." 

The  death  of  the  mother  brought  upon  her,  as  the  eldest 
daughter  of  the  family,  many  cares  and  responsibilities. 
Though  only  sixteen  years  of  age,  she  was  the  eldest  of  a 
family  of  eight  children,  and,  having  always  been  treated  by 
her  father  as  a  companion,  she  sympathized  with  him  fully  in 
the  sorrows  and  anxieties  of  this  bereavement.  When,  there- 
fore, after  a  suitable  interval,  lier  father  announced  to  her 
that  he  had  found  a  lady  of  culture  and  piety  willing  to 
assume  the  cares  and  labors  of  the  head  of  his  family,  Miss 
Beecher  at  once  with  generous  openness  wrote  a  letter  of 
welcome  to  the  prospective  stepmother,  and  a  friendship 
arose  between  the  two  which  continued  through  life. 

Under  the  new  organization  the  parsonage  became  a  centre 
of  a  very  charming,  cultivated  circle  of  society,  where  music, 
painting,  and  poetry,  all  combined  to  shed  a  charm  over  life. 
Parties  were  formed  for  reading,  and  at  these  parties  original 
compositions  were  often  handed  in  and  read.  Mr.  J.  P. 
Brace  and  Miss  Beecher  simultaneously  took  up  the  idea  of 
writing  poems,  the  scene  of  which  should  be  laid  in  Litchfield 
during  the  time  when  it  existed  as  an  Indian  village,  called 
Bantam.  Both  these  poems  were  presented  and  read,  and 
circulated  in  manuscript  through  the  appreciative  circles  of 
Litchfield. 

At  that  time  there  was  no  daily  press,  and  none  of  those 
magazines  which  now  stimulate  the  young  composer  to  rush 
into  print.  The  literature  thus  confined  to  an  appreciative 
circle  had  a  charm  of  its  own,  uninvaded  by  sneering  criticism, 
and  certainly  added  to  the  interest  of  the  Litchfield  society. 
Miss  Beecher's  ballad  of  "Yala"  possessed  no  mean 
poetic  merit  as  tiie  composition  of  a  girl  of  seventeen,  and 
was  circulated  even  among  the  literary  circles  of  New 
Haven. 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  81 

Dr.  Beecher,  who  had  risen  into  the  front  ranks  of  influence 
in  Connecticut,  at  this  time,  in  concert  with  the  literary  gen- 
tlemen connected  with  Yale  College,  projected  the  idea  of  a 
monthly  magazine  of  literature  and  theology  to  be  called  the 
w  Christian  Spectator."  Dr.  Beecher  was  a  regular  contributor 
under  the  signature  "D.D."  Miss  Beecher's  first  published 
poems  appeared  in  this  under  the  signature  "  C.  D.  D." 

These  poems  first  drew  towards  her  the  notice  of  one,  her 
connection  with  whom  was  destined  to  reverse  the  whole 
course  of  her  life.  The  young  professor  of  mathematics,  Alex- 
ander M.  Fisher,  was  led  to  inquire  of  a  friend,  "  Who  is  this 
r  C.  D.  D.'  that  writes  these  poems  ?"  and  the  replies  that 
he  received  so  far  increased  his  interest  that  he  asked  a  class- 
mate who  was  to  supply  Dr.  Beecher's  pulpit  for  a  Sabbath 
to  allow  him  to  accompany  him.  As  Professor  Fisher  had 
hitherto  avoided  society,  and  lived  a  life  of  scholarly  seclu- 
sion, this  step  was  the  more  remarkable.  Miss  Beecher,  how- 
ever, devoted  herself  to  his  entertainment,  played  and  sang 
for  him,  and  knowing  that  he  was  an  accomplished  musician, 
drew  him  out  of  his  diffidence  and  reserve  to  play  and  sing 
in  return,  and  in  fact  made  his  visit  so  delightful  that  the 
memory  of  it  followed  him  back  to  his  study. 

After  a  while,  hearing  from  different  sources  of  the  lady 
who  had  so  interested  him,  he  wrote  a  frank  and  manly  letter 
to  Dr.  Beecher,  avowing  his  interest,  and  begging  permis- 
sion to  seek  the  regard  of  his  daughter,  and  soliciting  his  aid 
in  providing  opportunities.  As  Miss  Beecher  was  very  soon 
going  to  take  a  place  as  teacher  of  music  and  painting  in 
New  London,  it  was  easily  arranged  that  she  should  on  her 
way  spend  a  week  in  New  Haven,  at  the  house  of  a  mutual 
friend.  After  a  week  of  devoted  attention,  Professor  Fisher 
announced  to  Dr.  Beecher  that  he  was  going  to  Massachu-* 
setts  in  a  chaise  to  bring  back  his  sister,  and  that  he  would 
be  happy  to  take  Miss  Beecher  to  New  London,  and  so  it  was 
arranged.  A  correspondence  followed,  in  which  the  delicacy 
and  elegance  of  his  mind,  his  high  principle  and  keen  sense 
of  honor  were  displayed,  while  a  vein  of  gentle  humor  gave  a 


82  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

grace  to  scholarly  exactness.  To  this  correspondence  fol- 
lowed an  engagement,  and  it  was  arranged  that  immediately 
on  Professor  Fisher's  return  from  a  tour  in  Europe  the  mar- 
riage was  to  take  place.  On  all  hands  Miss  Beecher  received 
congratulations.  Professor  Fisher  had  already  distinguished 
himself  in  his  department  of  science,  and  was  now  going  abroad 
to  form  the  acquaintance  of  scientists  and  to  observe  the 
methods  of  teaching  in  European  universities,  with  a  view  of 
improving  his  department  in  Yale  College.  The  prospect 
before  Miss  Beecher  was  of  a  home  in  the  beautiful  rural 
city  of  New  Haven,  in  cultured  literary  society,  and  at  the 
distance  of  only  an  hour  or  two  from  father  and  home. 
Nothing  could  be  asked  on  her  own  part  or  that  of  her 
friends  more  perfectly  desirable. 

But  like  a  stroke  of  lightning  from  a  clear  sky  came  the 
news  in  a  letter  to  Dr.  Beecher,  that  on  the  22d  of  April  the 
"Albion"  in  which  Professor  Fisher  had  sailed  was  wrecked 
on  Kinsale  Point,  and  that  every  passenger  but  one  had 
perished. 

Miss  Beecher  was  prostrated  by  the  stroke  both  in  mind 
and  body,  and  was  for  some  time  unable  to  leave  her  room. 
The  small  glimmer  of  hope  which  the  saving  of  one  passenger 
afforded  was  soon  extinguished  by  further  particulars.  The 
sole  survivor,  Mr.  Everhard,  thus  described  the  dreadful 
catastrophe.  After  saying  that  a  heavy  sea  had  carried 
away  the  masts  of  the  "Albion,"  stove  in  the  hatchways,  and 
carried  off  the  wheel  which  enabled  them  to  steer,  he  adds  :  — 

"All  night  long  the  wind  blew  a  gale  directly  on  shore, 
towards  which  the  '  Albion '  was  drifting  at  the  rate  of  about 
three  miles  an  hour.  The  complete  hopelessness  of  our 
situation  was  known  to  few  except  Captain  Williams.  The 
coast  was  familiar  to  him ;  and  he  must  have  seen  in  despair 
and  horror  throughout  the  night  the  certainty  of  our  fate. 

"  At  length  the  ocean  dashing  and  roaring  upon  the  preci- 
pice of  rocks  under  the  lee  of  the  ship  told  us  that  the  hour 
had  come.  Captain  Williams  summoned  all  on  deck,  and 
briefly  told  us  that  the  ship  must  soon  strike ;  it  was  impos- 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  83 

sible  to  preserve  her.  We  were  crowded  about  the  fore- 
castle, our  view  curtained  by  the  darkest  night  I  ever  beheld, 
surrounded  by  waves  running  mountains  high,  propelled  by 
a  tremendous  storm  towards  an  iron-bound  shore.  The 
rocks,  whose  towering  heads  appeared  more  than  a  hundred 
feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  against  whose  side  the  mighty 
waves  beat  with  unremitting  fury,  by  their  terrific  collision 
gave  the  only  light  by  which  we  were  enabled  to  see  our 
unavoidable  fate  and  final  destruction.  The  sea  beating  for 
ages  against  this  perpendicular  precipice  has  worn  large 
caverns  into  its  base,  into  which  the  waves  rush  violently 
with  a  sound  re-echoing  like  distant  thunder,  then  running 
out  in  various  directions,  form  whirlpools  of  great  force.  For 
a  perch  or  two  from  the  precipice  rocks  rise  out  of  the 
water,  broad  at  bottom  and  sharp  at  top  ;  on  one  of  these, 
just  at  the  gray  of  dawn,  the  '  Albion '  first  struck.  The 
next  wave  threw  her  further  on  the  rock,  —  the  third  further 
still,  until,  nearly  balanced,  she  swung  round  and  her  stern 
was  driven  against  another  nearer  in  shore. 

"  In  this  situation,  every  wave  making  a  breach  over  her, 
many  were  drowned  on  deck.  It  is  not  possible  to  conceive 
the  horrors  of  our  situation.  The  deadly  and  relentless  blast 
impelling  us  to  destruction  ;  the  ship  a  wreck  —  the  raging  of 
the  billows  against  the  precipice  on  which  we  were  driving  — 
the  sending  back  from  the  caverns  and  the  rocks  the  hoarse 
and  melancholy  warnings  of  death  —  dark,  coid,  and  wet  — 
in  such  a  situation  the  stoutest  heart  must  have  quailed  in 
utter  despair.  When  there  is  a  ray  of  hope  there  may  be  a 
corresponding  buoyancy  of  spirit.  When  there  is  anything 
to  be  done,  the  active  man  may  drown  the  sense  of  danger 
while  actively  exerting  himself;  but  here  there  was  nothing 
to  do  —  but  to  die.  Every  moment  might  be  considered  the 
last.  Terror  and  despair  seized  upon  the  most  of  us  with 
the  iron  grasp  of  death,  augmented  by  the  wild  shrieks  of 
the  females,  expressive  of  their  terror.  Major  Gough,  of  the 
British  army,  remarked,  that f  Death,  come  as  he  would,  was 
an  unwelcome  messenger,  but  we  must  meet  him  as  we 

O        ' 

6 


g4  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

could.'  Very  little  was  said  by  others ;  the  men  waiting  the 
expected  shock  in  silence. 

"  Presently  the  ship  broke  in  two,  and  all  those  who  re- 
mained near  the  bow  were  lost.  Several  from  the  stern  of 
the  ship  had  got  on  the  side  of  the  precipice  and  were  hang- 
ing by  the  crags  as  they  could.  Although  weakened  by 
previous  sickness  and  present  suffering,  I  made  an  eifort  and 
got  upon  the  rock,  and  stood  on  one  foot,  the  only  hold  that 
I  could  obtain.  I  saw  several  around  me,  and  among  the 
rest  Colonel  Prevost,  who  observed  on  seeing  me  take  my 
station,  'here  is  another  poor  fellow  !'  but  the  waves  rolled 
heavily  against  us,  and  often  dashing  its  spray  fifty  feet  over 
our  heads,  gradually  swept  those  who  had  taken  refuge  one 
by  one  away.  One  poor  fellow,  losing  his  hold,  as  he  fell 
caught  me  by  the  leg,  and  nearly  pulled  me  from  my  place. 
Weak  and  sick  as  I  was,  I  stood  several  hours  on  one  foot  on 
a  little  crag,  the  billows  dashing  over  me,  benumbed  with 
cold. 

"As  soon  as  it  was  light,  and  the  tide  ebbed  so  as  to  render 
it  possible,  the  people  descended  the  rocks  as  far  as  they 
could,  and  dropped  a  rope  which  I  fastened  round  my  body, 
and  was  drawn  out  to  a  place  of  safety." 

Such  were  the  distressing  images  which  gathered  around  a 
loss  in  itself  great  and  irreparable.  Some  lines  written  at 
this  time  express  the  sufferings  and  sorrows  of  those  days  :  — 

"  Where  can  the  sorrowing  heart  find  peace 

Whose  every  throb  is  filled  with  woe ; 
When  can  the  aching  head  find  rest, 
And  bitter  tears  no  longer  flow  ? 

"Wisdom  with  kind,  inviting  voice, 

Directs  the  soul  to  paths  of  peace  ; 
And  points  the  weeping  eye  to  heaven, 
Where  pain  shall  end  and  sorrow  cease. 

"But  vain  her  call  —  the  wayward  heart, 

Its  best  hopes  wrecked,  its  comfort  o'er, 
Wanders  despairing  and  unblest, 
To  Erin's  cliffs  and  dismal  shore. 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  85 

"  There  where  the  dark  and  stormy  wave, 

Hides  the  dear  form  forever  lost ; 
Still  hovers  round  uncomforted, 
Afflicted,  lone,  and  tempest-tossed. 

"  Oh,  Saviour,  at  whose  sovereign  word 

The  winds  and  waves  of  sorrow  cease ; 
Thou  seest  my  tears,  thou  hear'st  my  sighs, 
Speak  but  the  word  and  all  is  peace. 

"  Be  thou  my  trust  while  I  resign, 

The  dearest  boon  thy  mercy  gave ; 

And  yield  my  cherished  earthly  hopes 

To  Erin's  cliffs  and  ocean's  wave." 

It  was  not  at  once  that  the  peace  so  ardently  desired  was 
attained.  It  is  not  without  a  struggle  that  the  soul  can 
accept  heavenly  hopes  in  place  of  earthly  joys.  Miss  Beecher 
at  the  earnest  solicitation  of  Professor  Fisher's  parents  went 
to  visit  them,  and  spent  several  months  of  the  ensuing  season, 
and  at  first  the  visit  seemed  only  to  intensify  her  sense  of 
loss.  She  wrote  thus  to  her  father :  — 

"  I  am  now  sitting  by  the  fireside  which  has  so  often  been 
cheered  by  the  most  dutiful  son,  the  most  affectionate  brother, 
and  the  dearest  friend.  His  beautiful  picture  is  hanging  be- 
fore me,  his  piano  is  near,  his  parents,  brothers,  and  sisters 
around.  I  have  read  letters  to  his  family  where  are  disclosed 
the  dutiful,  affectionate  feelings  of  his  generous  heart.  I  have 
seen  with  what  almost  idolatrous  affection  he  was  beloved  by 
his  family,  and  how  dear  a  place  I  find  in  all  their  hearts  for 
his  sake,  who  loved  me  so  truly  —  alas,  I  knew  but  little 
how  tenderly  I  was  beloved  till  his  heart  was  stilled  in 
death,  but  now  I  every  day  discover  renewed  proofs  of  his 
affection  and  care.  Is  it  strange  that  I  sometimes  feel  that 
my  sorrow  is  greater  than  I  can  bear?  Oh,  that  the  clouds 
and  darkness  that  are  around  Him  who  made  me,  might 
pass  away ! "  In  a  more  cheerful  strain  she  describes  their 
family  life :  "  Every  evening  we  gather  around  the  par- 
lor fireside  to  talk  over  past  days.  His  brother  and  two 


gfl  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHEK. 

sisters  have  the  sweetest  voices  I  ever  heard,  and  as  they  all 
sing  by  note  and  can  read  music  readily,  and  have  a  large 
collection  of  good  music,  we  have  some  delightful  singing." 

To  prevent  herself  from  sinking  into  hopeless  melancholy 
she  now  undertook,  under  the  care  of  the  brother,  Willard 
Fisher,  a  course  of  mathematical  study  as  the  best  means  of 
giving  mental  discipline  and  diverting  the  mind  from  dis- 
tressing thoughts.  It  was,  however,  unfortunate  for  the 
attainment  of  that  religious  peace  that  she  was  seeking  that 
the  family  were  punctual  attendants  on  the  preaching  of  the 
celebrated  Dr.  Emmons. 

In  his  austere  mode  of  presentation  God  appeared,  not  as  a 
tender  Father  but  an  exacting  autocrat,  and  the  chances  for 
shipwrecked  souls  of  final  salvation  seemed  as  hopeless  as 
those  iron-bound  rocks  on  which  the  hapless  "  Albion  "  was 
wrecked . 

The  dreary  effect  of  this  teaching  was  increased  by  finding 
the  mother  of  Professor  Fisher  the  victim  of  a  settled  relig- 
ious melancholy,  and  discovering  by  reading  Professor  Fisher's 
private  journal  that  those  same  views  had  clouded  his  own 
religious  hopes  and  driven  him  at  times  almost  to  despair. 
Miss  Beecher  kept  up  a  vigorous  correspondence  with  her 
father,  in  which  the  then  current  New  England  theology  was 
discussed  from  every  point  of  view.  At  last  she  came  to  the 
conclusion  to  let  these  insoluble  problems  alone  and  devote 
herself  to  the  simple  following  of  Jesus  Christ  in  a  life  of 
practical  usefulness. 

She  came  back  to  Litchfield,  united  with  her  father's  church, 
and  selected  the  field  of  education  as  the  one  to  which  she 
would  hereafter  devote  her  energies.  In  the  year  1823  she 
began,  in  connection  with  her  sister,  a  select  school  in  Hart- 
ford. She  commenced  the  Latin  grammar  only  a  fortnight 
before  she  began  to  teach  it  herself.  Her  brother,  Edward 
Beecher,  was  at  this  time  at  the  head  of  the  Hartford  Latin 
School,  and  boarded  in  the  same  family  with  his  sisters,  and 
she  studied  with  him  while  she  taught  her  pupils.  Sur- 
rounded by  young  life,  enthusiastic  in  study  and  teaching, 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  87 

Miss  Beecher  recovered  that  buoyant  cheerfulness  which  had 
always  characterized  her. 

She  was  at  this  time  in  her  twenty-third  year,  and  had  a 
ready  sympathy  with  all  the  feelings  of  the  young ;  she  en- 
couraged her  scholars  to  talk  freely  with  her  of  the  subjects 
they  studied,  and  the  recitation  hours  were  often  enlivened 
by  wit  and  pleasantry.  She  had  under  her  care  some  of  the 
brightest  and  most  receptive  of  minds,  and  the  results,  as 
shown  in  the  yearly  exhibitions,  to  which  the  parents  and 
friends  were  invited,  were  quite  exciting.  Latin  and  English 
compositions  —  versified  translations  from  Virgil's  Eclogues 
and  Ovid's  Metamorphoses  —  astonished  those  wrho  had  not 
been  in  the  habit  of  expecting  such  things  in  a  female  school. 
The  school  increased  rapidly ;  pupils  were  drawn  in  from 
abroad,  and  it  became  difficult  to  find  a  place  to  contain  the 
numbers  to  be  taught. 

Miss  Beecher  had  always  enjoyed  the  friendship  of  the 
leading  ladies  of  Hartford,  and  when  at  the  end  of  four  years 
she  drew  the  plan  of  the  Hartford  Female  Seminary  it  was  by 
their  influence  that  the  first  gentlemen  in  Hartford  subscribed 
money  to  purchase  the  land  and  erect  such  a  building  as  she 
desired,  with  a  large  hall  for  study  and  general  exercises, 
eight  recitation-rooms,  and  a  room  for  chemical  laboratory 
and  lectures.  A  band  of  eight  teachers,  each  devoted  to  some 
particular  department,  carried  on  the  course  of  study. 

At  this  time  she  published  "  Suggestions  on  Education,"  in 
which  she  forcibly  compared  the  provision  that  had  hitherto 
been  made  for  the  education  of  men  with  those  which  had 
been  deemed  sufficient  for  the  other  sex.  For  the  brothers 
of  a  family  the  well-endowed  college,  with  its  corps  of  pro- 
fessors, each  devoted  to  one  department  of  knowledge,  and 
with  leisure  to  perfect  himself  in  it  and  teach  it  in  the  most 
complete  manner  —  for  the  sisters  of  the  family  only  such 
advantages  as  they  could  get  from  one  teacher  in  one  room, 
wrho  had  the  care  of  teaching  in  all  branches ;  and  she  asked 
what  but  superficial  knowledge  could  be  the  result  of  such  a 
system.  The  article  was  vigorously  written  and  excited  much 


88  CATHEKINE  E.  BEECHEK. 

attention.  It  was  favorably  noticed  in  the  "  North  American," 
and  in  the  "Revue  Encyclopedique,"  and  drew  instant  atten- 
tion to  the  system  that  was  being  carried  on  in  the  Hartford 
Female  Seminary. 

There  was  at  the  time  an  educational  current  rising  strongly 
in  New  England.  Mr.  Woodbridge,  the  author  of  a  geog- 
raphy much  in  use,  edited  a  "  Journal  of  Education,"  in  which 
the  methods  of  Fellenberg  and  other  European  educators 
were  described ;  frequent  teachers'  conventions  were  held  in 
which  information  on  these  subjects  was  disseminated. 

Miss  Beecher  was  enthusiastic  in  education,  and  succeeded 
in  imparting  her  enthusiasm  both  to  her  teachers  and  scholars, 
and  there  was  scarce  a  week  in  which  the  school  was  not  visited 
by  strangers  desirous  to  observe  its  methods.  The  example 
soon  was  copied.  One  of  her  associate  teachers  inaugurated 
a  similar  institution  in  Springfield,  Mass.,  supplied  with 
teachers  of  Miss  Beecher's  training.  A  gentleman  came 
north  from  Huntsville,  Alabama,  desiring  teachers  to  com- 
mence a  similar  institution  in  that  State,  and  Miss  Beecher 
despatched  them  four  of  her  most  promising  scholars  to  com- 
mence the  work. 

The  efficiency  and  energy  that  Miss  Beecher  displayed  at 
this  time  of  her  career  was  the  wonder  of  every  one  who 
knew  her. 

With  all  the  cares  of  a  school  of  between  one  and  two 
hundred  pupils,  many  of  them  from  distant  States  of  the 
Union,  Miss  Beecher's  influence  was  felt  everywhere,  regu- 
lating the  minutest  details.  She  planned  the  course  of  study, 
guided  and  inspired  the  teachers,  overlooked  the  different 
boarding-houses,  corresponded  with  parents  and  guardians. 

With  all  these  cares  she  prepared  an  arithmetic  which  was 
printed  and  used  as  a  text-book  in  her  school  and  those  that 
emanated  from  it.  The  peculiarity  of  this  book  was  its  re- 
quiring of  the  pupil  at  every  step  a  clear  statement  of  the 
rationale  of  the  arithmetical  processes.  It  was  never  pub- 
lished, but  printed  as  wanted  for  her  school  and  those  after- 
wards founded  by  her  teachers.  When  the  teacher  in  mental 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  39 

philosophy  left  her  institution  for  that  in  Springfield,  Miss 
Beecher  took  charge  of  that  department,  and  wrote  for  it  a 
text  book  of  some  four  or  live  hundred  pages,  entitled 
"Mental  and  Moral  Philosophy,  Founded  on  Reason,  Obser- 
vation, and  the  Bible."  Like  the  arithmetic,  this  book  was 
printed  and  not  published.  As  it  applied  common  sense  to 
the  interpretation  of  the  language  of  the  Bible,  it  came  in 
collision  with  many  theological  dogmas,  but  the  views  of  the 
divine  love  which  it  exhibited  made  it  a  most  powerful 
assistant  in  religious  and  moral  education. 

She  constantly  enforced  it  upon  her  teachers  that  education 
was  not  merely  the  communication  of  knowledge,  but  the 
formation  of  character.  Each  teacher  had  committed  to  her 
special  care  a  certain  number  of  scholars,  whose  character  she 
was  to  study,  whose  affection  she  was  to  seek,  and  whom  she 
was  to  strive  by  all  means  in  her  power  to  lead  to  moral 
and  religious  excellence. 

The  first  hour  every  morning  was  given  to  a  general  relig- 
ious exercise  with  the  assembled  school,  and  the  results  of 
those  exercises  and  of  the  whole  system  of  influences  were 
such  that  multitudes  can  look  back  to  the  Hartford  Female 
Seminary  as  the  place  where  they  received  influences  that 
shaped  their  whole  life  for  this  world  and  the  world  to  come. 

During  all  her  multiplied  cares  and  engagements  she  kept 
up  her  health  by  systematic  daily  exercise  on  horseback,  — 
generally  in  the  early  morning  hours,  and  often  accompanied 
by  some  of  her  teachers  or  pupils.  She  also  kept  up  the 
practice  of  piano  music  as  a  recreation,  and  now  and  then 
furnished  a  poem  for  the  weekly  "  Connecticut  Observer," 
and  received  on  one  evening  of  the  week  her  own  friends  and 
those  of  her  pupils,  to  a  social  gathering,  enlivened  by  music 
and  conversation.  The  weekly  levees  of  the  Hartford  Fe- 
male Seminary  were  a  great  addition  to  the  social  life  of 
Hartford. 

For  some  years  it  seemed  as  if  there  were  to  be  no  limit  to 
what  she  could  plan  and  accomplish.  As  the  making  money 
was  no  part  of  her  object  in  teaching,  so  every  improvement 


90  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

which  money  could  procure  was  added  to  the  many  advan- 
tages of  the  seminary.  A  lecturer  on  history  was  hired  who 
introduced  charts  of  ancient  and  modern  history,  afterwards 
used  as  the  basis  of  instruction.  A  lady  who  first  brought 
into  use  the  system  of  calisthenics  was  employed  to  give  a 
course  in  the  seminary,  and  thus  the  exercises  became  a  daily 
part  of  the  school  duties.  Dr.  Barbour,  afterwards  Pro- 
fessor of  Elocution  in  Harvard  College,  was  hired  to  give  a 
course  of  instruction  in  his  department,  and  his  book  (a  con- 
densation of  Dr.  Rush's  treatise  on  the  voice)  was  introduced 
into  the  school.  So  many  were  the  teachers  employed,  so 
many  the  advantages  secured  to  the  pupils,  that  Miss  Beecher, 
at  the  head  of  it  all,  made  no  more  than  a  comfortable  sup- 
port, and  laid  up  nothing  for  the  future. 

After  seven  years  of  this  incessant  activity,  her  nervous 
system  began  to  give  out,  and  after  several  attacks  of  sciatica 
she  relinquished  the  charge  of  the  seminary  into  the  hands  of 
Mr.  John  P.  Brace,  the  associate  teacher  in  the  celebrated 
Litchfield  School. 

In  1830,  she  accompanied  her  father  in  his  first  journey  of 
observation  to  Cincinnati,  preparatory  to  the  removal  of  his 
family  to  the  West.  When  the  family  went  out  she  also 
went  with  them,  and,  in  connection  with  the  younger  sister, 
commenced  a  school  in  Cincinnati,  which  she  furnished  with 
teachers  of  her  own  training. 

But  after  this  time  she  did  not  herself  labor  personalty  as  a 
teacher.  In  connection  with  many  other  ladies  she  formed 
a  league  for  supplying  the  West  with  educated  teachers. 
Governor  Slade  of  Vermont,  as  agent  for  this  association, 
travelled  and  lectured,  and  as  the  result  many  teachers  were 
sent  West  and  many  schools  founded.  It  was  planned  to 
erect  one  leading  seminary  in  every  Western  State,  where 
teachers  should  be  trained  to  supply  the  country,  and  the 
plan  was  successfully  carried  out  in  Milwaukee  and  Dubuque, 
and  some  other  cities. 

During  the  latter  years  of  her  life  Miss  Beecher  was  prin- 
cipally occupied  in  authorship.  By  great  exactness  and  care 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  91 

of  her  health  she  was  able  to  give  certain  regular  daily  hours 
to  these  labors.  Her  first  work  was  a  treatise  on  "  Domestic 
Economy,"  designed  as  a  school-book,  and  treating  of  all  those 
subjects  which  relate  to  the  home-life  of  women  —  the  care  of 
house  and  furniture,  the  making  and  repairing  of  garments, 
the  care  of  young  children,  the  nursing  of  the  sick  —  the 
training  of  servants.  When  this  work  was  first  issued 
there  was  no  other  of  its  kind,  and  it  was  felt  to  be  a  most 
important  aid  in  female  education.  It  was  published  first 
in  Boston  and  afterwards  transferred  to  the  Harpers  of  New 
York. 

This  was  followed  by  a  "  Domestic  Keceipt  Book,"  devoted  to 
the  preparation  and  care  of  food.  The  mode  of  preparing  this 
was  somewhat  peculiar.  She  collected  round  her  in  Hartford 
the  graduates  of  her  school,  and  induced  them  to  bring  to  her 
from  each  family  the  best  receipts.  As  the  housekeepers  of 
Hartford  had  always  been  famous  for  the  excellence  of  their 
menages,  she  had  a  basis  of  solid  fact  and  experience  to  go 
upon  in  preparing  her  work,  which  also  was  published  by  the 
Harpers.  Under  their  care  the  sale  of  these  works  afforded 
her  a  yearly  income,  which  she  spent  freely  in  forwarding  her 
educational  plans.* 

Miss  Beecher  lived  to  be  seventy-eight  years  of  age,  and 
though  the  last  ten  years  of  her  life  she  was  crippled  by 
sciatica  and  in  many  respects  an  invalid,  the  activity  of  her 
mind  and  her  zeal  in  education  continued  to  the  last. 

In  her  sixty-first  year  she  united  with  the  Episcopal  church 
by  confirmation,  in  company  with  three  of  her  young  nieces. 
Her  reason  for  the  step  she  gave  in  her  belief  that  the  religious 
educational  theory  of  the  Episcopal  church  was  superior  to 

*  At  the  request  of  the  writer  the  Messrs.  Harpers  have  furnished  the  fol- 
lowing list  of  her  published  works:  — 

Duty  of  American  Women  to  their  Country,  1845 ;  A  Treatise  on  Domestic 
Economy  for  the  Use  of  Ladies  at  Home  and  in  School,  1845;  Miss  Beecher's 
Domestic  Receipt  Book,  1846;  Miss  Beecher's  Address,  1846;  Letters  to  the 
People,  1855;  Physiology  and  Calisthenics,  1856;  Common  Sense  Applied  to 
Religion,  1857;  An  Appeal  to  the  People,  1860;  The  Religious  Training  of 
Children,  1864;  The  Housekeeper  and  Healthkeeper,  1873. 


92  CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER. 

that  of  any  other,  and  ever  after  that  she  was  an  attendant 
on  the  services  of  that  church. 

Her  death  at  last  was  sudden.  She  was  visiting  a  brother 
at  Elmira,  N.  Y.,  but  intending  shortly  to  journey  eastward. 
On  the  llth  of  May,  1878,  she  arranged  everything  for  her 
departure,  made  cheerful  farewell  calls  on  all  her  friends,  and 
retired  to  rest  at  night  at  her  usual  hour.  The  next  morning, 
as  she  did  not  appear,  her  brother  entered  her  room  and  found 
her  in  a  heavy  stupor,  from  which  it  was  impossible  to  rouse 
her,  and  in  the  course  of  a  few  hours,  on  Sunday,  May  12, 
1878,  she  quietly  passed  from  the  pain  and  weakness  of 
earth  to  the  everlasting  rest  of  heaven. 

In  many  respects  the  manner  of  her  death  seemed  merci- 
fully ordered.  She  had  a  great  shrinking  from  physical  pain 
and  all  that  usually  precedes  death,  and  there  was  none  of 
this  in  her  last  hours.  Death  came  to  her  as  a  tranquil  sleep. 
We  cannot  more  fittingly  close  this  memoir  than  by  quoting 
her  "  Hymn  for  the  Bed  of  Death." 

It  was  written  for  a  lovely  and  much  afflicted  friend  of  her 
early  days,  who,  after  a  life  of  peculiar  suffering,  was  lying 
on  her  deathbed.  0  When  Miss  Beecher  received  a  few 
trembling  lines  from  this  friend,  expressing  her  feeling  that 
the  final  hour  was  near,  she  composed  and  sent  to  her  this 
hymn :  — 

"And  is  there  One  who  knows  each  grief, 
And  counts  the  tears  His  children  shed, 

Whose  soothing  hand  can  bring  relief, 
And  smooth  and  cheer  their  painful  bed  ? 

Saviour  !  invisible,  yet  dear 

Friend  of  the  helpless,  art  Thou  near  ? 

"  Forgive  the  faltering  faith  and  fears 

Of  this  weak  heart  that  seeks  Thine  aid ; 

Forgive  these  often  flowing  tears, 

Thou  who  hast  fainted,  wept,  and  prayed. 

Ah,  who  so  well  our  wants  can  know 

As  He  who  felt  each  human  woe  ? 


CATHERINE  E.  BEECHER.  93 

"  Yes,  Thou  hast  felt  the  withering  power 

Of  mortal  weakness  and  distress ; 
And  Thou  hast  known  the  bitter  hour 

Of  desolating  loneliness, 
Hast  mourned  Thy  friends  so  faithless  fled, 
And  wept  in  anguish  o'er  the  dead. 

"  Thou,  too,  hast  tried  the  tempter's  power, 

And  felt  his  false  and  palsying  breath  ; 
And  known  the  gloomy  fears  that  wait 

Along  the  shadowy  vale  of  death, 
And  what  the  dreaded  pang  must  be, 
Of  life's  last  parting  agony. 

"  My  only  hope,  my  stay,  my  shield, 

Thy  fainting  creature  looks  to  Thee ; 
Thy  gracious  love,  Thy  guidance  yield, 

In  this  my  last  extremity. 
With  Thy  dear  guardian  hand  to  save, 
Lord,  I  can  venture  to  the  grave." 


CHAPTER  IV. 
CLAKA   BAETON. 

BY  LUCY  LARCOM. 

Clara  Barton's  Early  Lif e  —  A  Faithful  Little  Nurse  at  Eleven  —  Devotion 
to  Her  Sick  Brother— Breaking  Out  of  the  Civil  War  — Her  Loyalty  and 
Devotion  to  the  Union  —  The  Old  Sixth  Massachusetts  Regiment  —  First 
Blood  Shed  for  the  Union —  Miss  Barton's  Timely  Services  —  Consecrat- 
ing Her  Life  to  the  Soldier's  Needs— At  the  Front — Army  Life  and 
Experiences  —  Undaunted  Heroism  —  Terrible  Days  —  Errands  of  Mercy 
—  "The  Angel  of  the  Battlefield" — Instances  of  Her  Courage  and 
Devotion  —  Narrow  Escapes  —  Her  Labors  for  Union  Prisoners  —  Record 
of  the  Soldier  Dead  —  Dorrance  Atwater  —  Work  After  the  War — Visit 
to  Europe  —  The  Society  of  the  Red  Cross  —  The  Franco-Prussian  War  — 
At  the  Front  Again  —  Unfurling  the  Banner  of  the  Red  Cross  — Record  of 
a  Noble  Life. 

HE  women  who  have  lived  nobly  are  far  more 
worthy  of  honor  than  those  who  have  only 
written  or  spoken  well.  Great  inspirations, 
whether  sudden  as  lightning  or  slow  as  the 
steady  unfolding  of  dawn,  find  their  perfect 
end  only  through  embodiment  in  action. 

The  every-day  life  of  woman  is  full  of  difficult 
demands,  grandly  met ;  and  these  are  none  the 
less  heroisms  because  they  often  occur  in  some 
obscure  corner,  where  they  are  not  looked  upon  as 
anything  remarkable.     But  when  an  unusual  occa- 
sion reveals  a  duty  which  must  be  done  in  the  face  of  the 
whole  world,  the  true  woman  does  not  shrink  back  into  her 
beloved  seclusion,  and  let  the  opportunity  pass.     She  may 
dread  notoriety  with  all  the  strength  of  her  womanly  nature, 
but  the  voice  of  God  within  her  is  imperative  ;  she  cannot  be 
disobedient  unto  the  heavenly  vision  ;  —  and  the  really  heroic 
soul  forgets  herself  and  everything  except  the  high  demand 
94 


CLARA  BARTON.  95 

of  the  hour,  and  undertakes  the  difficult  public  labor  as  sim- 
ply as  she  would  any  humble  fireside  service. 

Clara  Barton's  life  is  before  the  world,  not  through  any 
effort  or  wish  of  her  own,  but  only  through  her  having  taken 
hold,  with  all  her  heart  and  with  all  her  strength,  of  work 
that  she  saw  needed  to  be  done.  Her  labors  have  been 
almost  unique  in  the  annals  of  womanly  endeavor,  for  their 
steady  perseverance,  for  the  wisdom,  the  courage,  and  the 
self-forge tfulness  which  has  animated  them.  Quick  to  see 
the  exigencies  of  a  situation,  and  prompt  and  wise  to  meet 
them ;  understanding  both  how  to  direct  and  how  to  obey ; 
her  bravery  and  self-reliance  balanced  by  her  generosity  and 
warm-heartedness,  —  there  is  much  in  her  character  that 
reminds  us  of  Wordsworth's  description  of  "The  Happy 
Warrior,"  while  it  would  be  unjust  to  her  not  to  add  that 
she  is  one  of  the  most  womanly  of  women. 

She  is  a  daughter  of  New  England.  Her  birthplace  was 
North  Oxford,  among  the  hills  of  Worcester  County,  Massa- 
chusetts ;  and  the  fact  that  she  was  born  on  Christmas  day 
is  not  without  significance  in  her  history.  Her  childhood 
was  blessed  with  outdoor  freedom  and  indoor  comfort  and 
peace,  such  as  are  known  to  the  healthy,  well-cared-for  coun- 
try children  of  our  Commonwealth.  The  youngest  of  a  large 
family,  with  many  years  intervening  between  her  and  her 
brothers  and  sisters,  she  was  left  a  good  deal  to  herself  for 
amusement  and  occupation,  both  of  which  she  readily  found, 
—  going  through  wild  snow-drifts  or  summer  sunshine  two 
miles  to  school,  playing  on  the  hillsides,  wading  in  the  brooks, 
or  scampering  across  her  father's  fields  on  any  untamed  pony 
she  could  find. 

So  it  went  on  until  she  was  eleven  years  old,  when  more 
care  fell  upon  her  than  often  comes  to  so  young  a  child.  One 
of  her  brothers,  an  athletic  young  man,  had  a  fall  from  the 
top  of  a  building  he  was  helping  to  raise.  He  seemed  not  at 
all  hurt  at  the  time,  but  the  shock  resulted  in  a  long  period 
of  utter  prostration,  during  which  his  little  sister  became  his 
nurse,  for  two  years  scarcely  leaving  his  bedside,  day  or  night. 


9(3  CLARA  BARTON. 

It  may  seem  strange  that  this  wearing  task  should  have 
been  given  to  the  youngest  of  the  family ;  but  it  was  charac- 
teristic of  Clara  Barton  from  the  first  to  assume  the  most 
self-denying  work  as  her  own  especial  right.  Moreover,  she 
grew  into  her  position  through  a  natural  fitness  for  it. 
Placed  beside  the  sick  man,  as  the  little  girl  of  the  household, 
to  fan  him  or  bring  him  a  glass  of  water  at  need,  he  became 
accustomed  to  her  cleft  ways  and  fresh  sympathies,  and  could 
not  well  do  without  them.  And  the  child-nurse,  for  love  of 
the  sufferer  and  of  the  work  of  ministering,  took  only  a  half 
day's  respite  for  herself  during  that  long  period. 

After  the  invalid's  recovery,  when  Clara  was  about  sixteen 
years  old,  having  prepared  herself  in  the  studies  ordinarily 
required,  she  began  to  teach  in  the  district-schools  of  her  own 
home-neighborhood,  not  shrinking  from  those  where  rough 
boys  had  been  in  the  habit  of  forcibly  ejecting  the  master. 
She  had  no  trouble  with  her  pupils,  winning  at  once  their 
hearts  and  their  obedience.  Her  services  were  in  constant 
demand,  and  she  pursued  the  occupation  for  several  years, — 
during  intervals  of  leisure  assisting  her  brothers,  who  had 
become  prominent  business  men  of  their  native  place,  in  their 
counting-house  labors. 

Later,  she  went  through  a  thorough  course  of  study  in  Clin- 
ton, N.  Y.,  and  then  resumed  teaching  in  the  State  of  New 
Jersey. 

In  1853  we  find  her  doing  a  remarkable  work  at  Borden- 
town,  where  there  had  been  a  strong  prejudice  against  the 
establishment  of  free  schools.  She  had  been  told  that  such 
an  undertaking  would  certainly  be  unsuccessful ;  but  she 
agreed  to  assume  the  entire  responsibility  for  three  months 
at  her  own  expense.  She  took  a  tumble-down  building,  and 
began  with  six  scholars,  making  it  understood  that  the  chil- 
dren of  rich  and  poor  were  alike  welcome.  In  four  or  five 
weeks  the  building  proved  too  small  for  the  number  who 
came,  and  the  one  school  grew  into  two.  The  result  in  one 
year  was  the  erection  of  a  fine  edifice,  and  the  establishment 
of  a  free  school  at  Bordentown,  with  a  roll  of  five  hundred 


CLARA    BARTON. 


CLARA  BARTOX.  99 

pupils.  It  is  but  just  to  the  authorities  of  the  town  to  say 
that  they  insisted  upon  Miss  Barton's  receiving  the  salary  she 
had  agreed  to  do  without. 

Her  exertions  here,  added  to  the  fatigues  of  previous  years, 
began  to  tell  upon  her  health,  and  she  was  obliged  to  rest. 
She  went  to  Washington,  where  she  had  relatives,  .for  change 
of  scene  and  a  more  favorable  climate. 

eJust  at  this  time,  through  the  treachery  of  clerks,  troubles 
had  arisen  in  the  Patent  Office.  Secrets  had  been  betrayed, 
and  great  annoyance  caused  to  inventors  who  had  applied  for 
patents.  The  Commissioner  was  at  a  loss  what  to  do,  when 
Miss  Barton  was  recommended  to  him  as  a  person  who  could 
be  trusted,  and  whose  clear  chirography  and  aptitude  for  busi- 
ness affairs  well  fitted  her  for  the  situation. 

Her  services  were  at  once  secured.  But  although  her  new 
employment  was  less  fatiguing  than  teaching,  it  was  not  with- 
out its  trials.  Hitherto,  male  clerks  only  had  been  employed, 
and  these  men  did  not  like  to  see  their  province  invaded  by  a 
woman.  They  were  perhaps  the  more  displeased  because  they 
had  brought  her  there  by  their  own  unfaithfulness,  which  could 
no  longer  profit  them.  They  adopted  the  chivalrous  course  of 
making  her  position  as  uncomfortable  as  they  could,  hoping 
to  drive  her  from  it  by  personal  annoyance.  They  ranged 
themselves  every  morning,  in  two  rows,  against  the  walls  of 
the  long  corridor  through  which  she  had  to  pass  on  her  way 
to  her  desk,  staring  hard  at  her,  and  whistling  softly  as  she 
went  by. 

Miss  Barton  felt  the  insult  keenly,  but  she  determined  to 
bear  it,  for  the  sake  of  the  principle  involved.  Day  after 
day  she  passed  through  this  ordeal,  with  her  eyes  upon  the 
floor,  seeing  nothing  of  those  two  lines  of  indignant  masculines 
but  their  boots. 

Failing  to  oust  her  in  this  way,  they  tried  slander,  but 
signally  failed,  her  accusers  instead  of  herself  receiving 
their  discharge.  She  suffered  no  further  indignities  of  the 
kind,  and  remained  in  the  Patent  Office  three  years,  doing 
her  work  so  well  that  her  books  are  still  exhibited  as  models. 


100  CLARA  BARTON. 

In  the  Buchanan  administration,  her  acknowledged  anti- 
slavery  sentiments  drew  upon  her  the  charge  of  "  Black  Re- 
publicanism," and  she  was  removed;  but,  being  urgently 
recalled  again  by  the  same  administration,  she  yielded  to  her 
father's  advice  and  returned. 

When  the  civil  war  broke  out,  and  the  Government  found 
itself  involved  in  serious  pecuniary  troubles,  Miss  Barton 
looked  about  to  see  what  relief  she  could  bring  to  the  situa- 
tion. There  were  clerks  of  known  disloyalty  in  the  Patent 
Office,  and  she  offered  to  do  with  her  own  hands,  and  without 
additional  pay,  the  work  of  two  of  these,  if  they  might  be  dis- 
missed. The  offer,  though  warmly  appreciated,  could  not 
legally  be  accepted.  But  she  decided  that  she  could  at  least 
save  her  own  salary  to  the  impoverished  Treasury,  and  she 
resigned  her  position,  determining  to  find  some  other  way  of 
serving  her  country  in  its  need. 

And  ways  were  opening  before  her  in  which  none  could 
walk  but  with  bleeding  feet  and  a  martyr's  fortitude.  Every 
energy  was  to  be  tested,  every  fibre  of  her  loyal  heart 
strained  to  its  utmost  tension. 

Many  of  us  can  remember  the  inspiring  thrill  of  patriotism 
to  which  we  awoke  after  the  first  sharp  pang  of  sorrow  and 
surprise  at  finding  our  country  drawn  into  the  horrors  of  civil 
war.  We  knew  now  to  our  heart's  depths  that  we  belonged 
to  a  Nation ;  that  our  separate  interests  were  nothing,  except 
as  they  were  identified  with  the  Republic,  which  was  to  us 
fireside  and  home.  No  sacrifices  seemed  too  great  for  us  to 
make  that  the  Union  we  loved  might  be  preserved.  Women 
felt  all  this  as  deeply  at  least  as  men.  We  were  all  lifted 
out  of  ourselves  upon  the  tide  of  patriotic  enthusiasm,  and 
were  grateful  indeed,  if  we  might  in  any  way  be  permitted 
to  take  part  in  the  struggle  which  we  felt  sure  was  for  hu- 
manity's sake  no  less  than  for  our  own. 

The  departure  of  the  Sixth  Regiment  of  Massachusetts 
Volunteers  from  Boston  was  a  scene  which  the  women  who 
witnessed  it  can  never  forget ;  and  there  were  naturally  more 
women  than  men  among  the  spectators.  A  look  of  solemn 


CLARA   BAETON.  101 

consecration  was  upon  the  eager  faces  of  those  who  went, 
and  in  the  tearful  eyes  of  those  who  said  farewell.  The 
very  air  seemed  to  breathe  the  joy  of  heroic,  self-forgetting 
purpose. 

Clara  Barton  was  in  Washington  when  these  soldiers  of  her 
own  State  arrived  there  from  Baltimore,  where  the  first  blood 
of  the  war  had  been  shed.  She  was  among  those  who  met 
them  at  the  station ;  she  saw  the  forty  wounded  men  taken 
to  the  Infirmary,  and  the  rest  quartered  at  the  Capitol ;  and 
she  Visited  both  with  such  help  as  she  could  command.  On  ac- 
count of  the  suddenness  of  the  call,  little  provision  had  been 
made,  in  a  regular  way,  for  the  hungry  crowd  at  the  Capitol, 
and  she  caused  food  to  be  brought  in  great  baskets,  and  dis- 
tributed among  the  men,  while  she  read  to  them  from  the 
Speaker's  desk  an  account  of  their  own  progress  from  Boston 
to  Washington,  as  it  had  been  recorded  in  the  daily  papers. 
From  that  hour  she  identified  herself  with  the  soldiers  in 
their  risks  and  sufferings. 

During  the  campaign  of  the  Peninsula,  her  custom  was  to 
go  down  the  Potomac  on  the  boats  which  carried  provisions 
to  the  army  and  returned  loaded  with  wounded  men,  taking 
with  her  such  things  as  would  give  them  relief  and  refresh- 
ment until  they  could  be  cared  for  in  the  hospitals.  In  this 
way  she  became  a  medium  of  communication  between  the 
soldiers  and  their  friends  at  home, —  she  writing  letters  for 
the  men,  and  receiving  such  comforts  and  delicacies  as  were 
intrusted  to  her  care  for  them.  Not  only  was  her  own  room 
soon  filled  with  these  contributions ;  she  hired  several  spa- 
cious storerooms,  which  continually  overflowed. 

It  became  a  serious  problem  how  to  get  these  things — the 
offerings  of  individuals,  of  churches  or  of  town  societies  —  to 
the  persons  for  whom  they  were  intended.  As  regiments 
were  ordered  further  away  from  Washington,  the  difficulty 
increased.  But  Miss  Barton  determined  that  if  she  could 
compass  it,  they  should  at  least  reach  the  rank  and  file  of  the 
army.  Meanwhile,  other  matters  perplexed  and  troubled  her 
yet  more. 

7 


102  CLARA   BARTON. 

On  her  errands  of  mercy  down  the  river,  she  was  con- 
stantly distressed  at  the  sight  of  sufferings  which  might  have 
been  avoided,  could  the  wounded  men  have  been  attended  to 
on  the  battle-field  where  they  fell.  They  were  sent  up  from 
the  swamps  of  the  Chickahominy,  covered  with  mud  and  gore, 
in  which  they  had  lain  for  days.  There  was  no  relief  for 
them,  except  of  the  voluntary  kind  Miss  Barton  gave,  until 
they  were  landed  at  Washington. 

While  saddened  beyond  measure  at  this  state  of  things, 
she  was  called  home  to  her  father's  sick-bed.  It  was  late  in 
the  year  1861.  He  had  attained  the  ripe  age  of  eighty-six 
years,  and  this  was  his  last  illness,  although  his  death  did 
not  occur  until  the  following  March. 

Sitting  beside  the  beloved  old  man,  who  had  himself  in 
his  youth  been  an  officer  under  General  Wayne,  she  talked 
with  him  of  what  she  was  doing,  and  of  what  more  she 
might  do  for  the  soldiers.  She  told  him  of  her  desire  to  go 
to  the  front,  of  her  feeling  that  she  ought  to  be  there  to 
relieve  suffering,  and  perhaps  to  save  lives.  It  was  a  new 
thing  for  a  woman  to  undertake,  and  among  other  dangers 
the  possibility  of  exposure  to  insult  was  discussed,  as  what 
she  most  dreaded.  But  her  father  said:  — 

"  Go,  if  you  feel  it  your  duty  to  go  !  I  know  what  sol- 
diers are,  and  I  know  that  every  true  solder  will  respect  you 
and  your  errand." 

And  comforted  by  the  good  man's  blessing,  she  returned 
to  her  post  with  little  anxiety  about  herself,  but  with  a  con- 
firmed resolution  to  persevere  in  the  labor  of  love  which  she 
had  chosen. 

It  was  not  easy  to  carry  out  her  purpose.  At  first  she 
waited,  hoping  that  influential  ladies  of  the  capital  would 
take  steps  that  she  might  follow.  But  they  only  touched  the 
matter  slightly.  Things  remained  much  in  the  same  sorrow- 
ful condition. 

When  at  last  she  did  apply  for  a  pass  beyond  the  army- 
lines,  she  was  everywhere  rebuffed.  Perhaps  her  youthful 
looks  were  against  her.  Officers  could  not  understand  what 


CLARA  BARTON.  103 

this  dark-haired  young  woman  with  the  keen  bright  eyes  had 
undertaken  to  do,  and  was  so  earnest  about.  But  she  per- 
severed, although  so  discouraged  that  when,  as  her  last  hope, 
she  stood  before  Assistant  Quartermaster-General  Rucker, 
she  could  not  tell  him  her  wish  for  tears. 

This  kind-hearted  man  listened  to  her,  sympathized  with 
her,  and  befriended  her  in  her  work,  then  and  ever  after.  To 
his  warning  suggestions  and  inquiries,  she  replied  that  she  was 
the  daughter  of  a  soldier,  and  that  she  had  no  fears  of  the 
battle-field,  or  of  being  under  the  enemy's  fire.  She  told 
him  of  her  large  storerooms  filled  with  supplies  which  she 
could  not  get  to  the  soldiers,  and  she  asked  of  him  means 
of  transportation  for  herself  and  for  them. 

Everything  she  requested,  and  more,  was  cheerfully  given  ; 
for  the  good  Quartermaster  had  that  in  his  own  nature  which 
enabled  him  to  look  into  the  large  heart  and  strong  character 
of  the  woman  who  stood  before  him.  Abundant  means  of 
transportation  were  furnished,  and  she  was  free  to  go  to  the 
relief  of  soldiers  in  battle  whenever  and  wherever  she  would. 
In  the  quartermaster's  department  of  the  army,  at  whatever 
point  she  appeared,  her  errand  was  at  once  understood  and  its 
purposes  forwarded. 

The  record  of  the  good  she  accomplished  during  the  war 
could  never  be  fully  written  out,  even  by  herself;  and  in 
this  brief  sketch  only  a  hint  of  it  can  be  given. 

We  may  catch  a  glimpse  of  her  at  Chantilly, —  in  the 
darkness  of  the  rainy  midnight  bending  over  a  dying  boy 
who  took  her  supporting  arm  and  soothing  voice  for  his 
sister's, —  or  falling  into  a  brief  sleep  on  the  wet  ground  in 
her  tent,  almost  under  the  feet  of  flying  cavalry ;  or  riding 
in  one  of  her  train  of  army-wagons  towards  another  field, 
subduing  by  the  way  a  band  of  mutinous  teamsters  into  her 
firm  friends  and  allies ;  or  at  the  terrible  battle  of  Antie- 
tam  (where  the  regular  army-supplies  did  not  arrive  until 
three  days  afterward),  furnishing  from  her  wagons  cordials 
and  bandages  for  the  wounded,  making  gruel  for  the  faint- 
ing men  from  the  meal  in  which  her  medicines  had  been 


104  CLARA   BARTON. 

packed,  extracting  with  her  own  hand  a  bullet  from  the 
cheek  of  a  wounded  soldier,  tending  the  fallen  all  day, 
with  her  throat  parched  and  her  face  blackened  by  sulphurous 
smoke,  and  at  night,  when  the  surgeons  were  dismayed  at 
finding  themselves  left  with  only  one  half-burnt  candle  amid 
thousands  of  bleeding,  dying  men,  illumining  the  field  with 
candles  and  lanterns  her  forethought  had  supplied.  No  won- 
der they  called  her  the  "Angel  of  the  Battlefield  !  " 

We  may  see  her  at  Fredericksburg,  attending  to  the 
wounded  who  were  brought  to  her,  whether  they  wore  the 
blue  or  the  gray.  One  rebel  officer,  whose  death-agonies 
she  soothed,  besought  her  with  his  last  breath  not  to  cross 
the  river,  in  his  gratitude  betraying  to  her  that  the  movements 
of  the  rebels  were  only  a  ruse  to  draw  the  Union  troops  on  to 
destruction.  It  is  needless  to  say  that  she  followed  the  sol- 
diers across  the  Rappahannock,  undaunted  by  the  dying  man's 
warning.  And  we  may  watch  her  after  the  defeat,  when  the 
half-starved,  half-frozen  soldiers  were  brought  to  her,  having 
great  fires  built  to  lay  them  around,  administering  cordials, 
and  causing  an  old  chimney  to  be  pulled  down  for  bricks  to 
warm  them  with,  while  she  herself  had  but  the  shelter  of  a 
tattered  tent  between  her  and  the  piercing  winds.  Or  we 
may  follow  her  to  Morris  Island,  to  the  attack  upon  Fort 
Wagner,  where  no  one  but  herself  was  prepared  for  repulse, 
and  see  her  ministering  to  the  men  who  dragged  themselves 
back  over  the  burning  sands  that  the  sea-winds  blew  like 
needle-points  into  their  wounds.  When  asked  by  a  friend 
how  she  dared  risk  in  midsummer  the  climate  of  Morris 
Island,  with  its  sickly  swamps  and  shadeless  sand-hills, 
the  unconscious  heroism  of  her  answer  was  characteristic : 
"Why,  somebody  had  to  go  and  take  care  of  the  soldiers,  so 
I  went." 

It  was  the  same  story  of  courage,  and  helpfulness,  and 
endurance,  all  through  the  war.  She  was  in  many  battles, 
often  directly  under  fire,  but  she  bore  a  charmed  life  ;  for, 
although  her  clothing  was  frequently  grazed  or  pierced,  she 
was  never  wounded.  At  the  battle  of  Antietam,  as  she 


ViSJS W  KV  SW VVV1S  WK'VM  XHKX  TO  K\\T  \tt  KVK «'  VN 


SCENES  IN  TPIE  LIFE  OF   CLARA  BARTON. 

1.     HOSPITAL  SUPPLIES  ON  THE  WAY  TO  ANTIETAM.         2.     THE  DYING  REBEL'S 
3.     WRITING  LETTERS  FOR  THE  SOLDIERS.         4.     MIDNIGHT  AFTER  THE 
BATTLE  OF  CHANTILLY. —  THE  DYING  BOY. 


CLARA  BARTON.  105 

stooped  to  lift  the  head  of  a  wounded  man,  a  ball  passed 
between  her  arm  and  her  body,  entering  the  soldier's  breast, 
and  instantly  killing  him. 

As  the  conflict  drew  to  a  close,  and  prisoners  were  ex- 
changed, Miss  Barton  received  numerous  letters  from  the 
mothers  of  soldiers,  who  had  willingly  given  their  sons  to 
their  country,  but  who  felt  that  they  ought  at  least  to  be  told 
what  had  become  of  them.  She  conferred  with  President 
Lincoln,  whose  great  heart  felt  the  necessities  of  the  case,  but 
who  could  not  decide  at  once  how  to  meet  them.  Meanwhile 
she  was  called  home  to  Massachusetts  by  family  afflictions. 
While  there,  she  saw  it  announced  in  the  daily  papers  that 
Miss  Clara  Barton  had  been  appointed  by  the  President  to 
correspond  with  the  friends  of  missing  prisoners,  and  that  she 
might  be  addressed  at  Annapolis,  where  the  survivors  of  An- 
dersonville  were  received. 

Leaving  her  own  sorrow  behind  her,  she  went  at  once  to 
Annapolis,  finding  there  that  during  the  three  days  since  the 
announcement,  about  four  bushels  of  letters  had  arrived, 
erery  one  of  them  full  of  heart-breaking  appeal.  These  let- 
ters continued  to  accumulate  after  the  discharge  of  the  Ander- 
sonville  prisoners,  and  Miss  Barton  went  to  Washington  to  go 
on  with  the  work,  which,  in  her  hands,  was  sure  to  be  meth- 
odical and  thorough.  She  established  at  her  own  expense, 
a  Bureau  of  Records  of  missing  men  of  the  United  States 
armies,  employing  several  clerks  to  assist  her.  These  records, 
compiled  from  hospital  and  prison  rolls  and  from  burial  lists, 
came  to  be  of  great  value  to  the  government  in  the  settle- 
ment of  bounties,  back  pay,  and  pensions,  no  less  than  to  the 
friends  of  the  soldiers;  to  whom,  indeed,  they  brought  often 
but  a  mournful  satisfaction  —  the  confirmation  of  dreaded  loss, 

Miss  Barton  went  to  Andersonville,  and,  with  the  aid  of 
Dorrance  Atwater,  a  Union  prisoner  who  had  been  employed 
in  hospital  service  there,  and  had  preserved  the  prison  rolls, 
identified  all  but  about  four  hundred  of  the  thirteen  thousand 
graves  of  buried  soldiers.  She  had  a  suitable  headboard 
placed  at  each  grave,  and  a  fence  built  around  the  cemetery. 


106  CLARA  BARTON. 

In  all  that  she  had  done  through  the  war  she  had  never 
asked  for  money.  She  had  used  her  own  income  freely,  say- 
ing, when  friends  demurred  :  — 

"  What  is  money  to  me  if  I  have  no  country  ?  " 

But  the  work  of  this  Bureau  could  not  be  carried  on  with- 
out large  expenditures.  She  had  already  used  several  thou- 
sand dollars  of  her  own,  and  there  were  five  or  six  thousand 
letters  yet  awaiting  examination.  This  came  to  the  knowledge 
of  some  members  of  Congress,  and  it  was  voted  that  Miss 
Barton  be  reimbursed,  and  the  means  for  going  on  furnished 
her,  an  appropriation  of  fifteen  thousand  dollars  being  made 
for  that  purpose.  For  her  services,  then,  as  always  before 
and  after,  she  neither  desired  nor  received  pay ;  they  were  a 
free-will  offering  to  her  country  and  to  humanity.  It  may  be 
added  that  her  income  is  almost  entirely  the  result  of  her  own 
patient  earnings  and  wise  investments.  Her  remarkable  busi- 
ness faculty  might  easily  have  won  her  great  wealth  ;  but  she 
has  preferred  to  be  rich  in  the  most  royal  way,  —  that  of 
doing  good. 

At  this  Bureau  she  continued  four  years,  giving  meanwhile 
to  large  audiences  East  and  West  her  thrilling  war  reminis- 
cences. But  her  army  labors  were  not  yet  ended.  There 
was  service  for  humanity  awaiting  her  in  another  hemisphere. 

There  is  nothing  in  the  divine  ordering  of  human  lives 
more  beautiful  than  the  way  in  which  opportunities  to  do 
noble  work  grow  out  of  similar  work  which  has  already  been 
faithfully  done.  Life  is  no  longer  fragmentary,  every  part 
has  meaning  and  unity,  and  the  toiler  goes  thankfully  on 
through  the  broader  activities,  and  into  the  deeper  consecra- 
tion, developing  always  a  less  self-conscious  personality,  but 
one  everywhere  more  definitely  recognized  and  honored. 

Even  a  careless  observer  cannot  fail  to  see  in  Clara  Barton's 
work  a  unity  peculiar  to  itself,  —  a  work  which  has  grown 
out  of  her  own  character,  and  which  no  one  bujb  herself  could 
have  done.  Her  labors  have  been  going  on  in  mind  and  heart 
and  will,  even  while  she  has  been  still  in  the  helplessness  of 
prostration  ;  for  she  has  more  than  once  been  obliged  to  yield 


CLARA   BARTON.  107 

to  the  physical  reaction  resulting  from  her  unsparing  strain 
upon  her  powers.  But  new  work  has  always  been  awaiting 
her  recovery ;  new,  and  yet  invariably  a  widening  and  deep- 
ening of  the  old,  as  a  stream,  however  impeded,  swells  to  a 
river,  its  fulness  flowing  from  the  freshness  of  its  own  dis- 
tinctive source. 

The  autumn  of  1869  found  her  seeking  renewal  of  her 
strength  under  the  shadow  of  the  Alps  at  Geneva.  There 
she  was  waited  upon  by  leading  members  of  the  International 
Committee  of  Geneva  for  the  relief  of  the  wounded  in  war, 
who  had  for  several  years  been  doing,  as  an  organization, 
what  she  had  attempted  personally  and  alone.  The  most 
striking  feature  of  their  plan  was  its  wide  humanity,  which 
recognized  in  the  wounded  soldier  the  man  only,  not  asking 
on  which  side  he  fought.  On  this  principle  Miss  Barton  had 
persistently  worked  in  our  civil  war,  although  subject  .often 
to  official  reproof,  and  sometimes  even  accused  of  disloyalty 
to  the  national  cause. 

The  society  these  gentlemen  represented  had  ministered  to 
the  wounded  on  many  battle-fields,  under  a  treaty  of  neutral- 
ity for  all  who  wore  its  badge,  and  were  doing  its  humane 
work.  This  treaty  had  been  signed  by  nearly  all  civilized 
nations,  and  also  by  some  not  commonly  regarded  as  such. 
It  had  twice  been  offered  to  the  United  States  for  signature, 
but  no  response  had  been  received.  Knowing  something  of 
what  Miss  Barton  had  done  for  wounded  soldiers  in  her  own 
country,  these  gentlemen  naturally  turned  to  her  as  one  who 
might  be  able  to  explain  the  reticence  of  our  government. 

She  could  only  say  to  them  that  she  had  never  even  heard 
of  the  treaty,  nor  of  the  society  organized  under  it ;  that  the 
documents  relating  to  it,  being  in  a  foreign  language,  had 
probably  been  passed  on  from  one  official  to  another,  pos- 
sibly unread  ;  and  that  the  fact  of  its  existence  was  doubtless 
quite  forgotten. 

The  silence  and  seeming  apathy  on  the  part  of  the  United 
States  must  have  seemed  the  more  strange  to  these  philan- 
thropic men,  since  the  idea  of  their  work  had  partly  been 


108  CLARA  BARTON. 

suggested  by  the  methods  of  the  Sanitary  Commission,  and  of 
other  humane  efforts  on  our  battle-fields,  during  the  rebellion. 

The  object  of  the  Society  as  set  forth  in  the  articles  of  the 
Geneva  Convention  of  August,  1864,  was  the  exemption  from 
capture,  and  the  protection,  under  treaty,  of  those  who  were 
taking  care  of  the  wounded  on  battle-fields,  and  also  of  such 
inhabitants  of  invaded  territories  as  gave  them  shelter  and 
assistance.  It  undertook  to  care  for  wounded  men  where 
they  fell,  no  matter  to  which  of  the  belligerent  armies  they 
belonged. 

The  Society  had  agreed  to  adopt  a  uniform  flag,  which  was 
to  be  recognized  and  protected  by  all  belligerents ;  and  also 
an  arm-badge  corresponding  to  the  flag,  to  be  worn  by  mem- 
bers in  active  service.  The  design  chosen  for  the  flag  and 
badge  was  a  red  cross  on  a  white  ground,  —  simply  the 
colors  of  the  national  flag  of  Switzerland  reversed,  that  bear- 
ing a  white  cross  on  a  red  ground.  The  association  took  its 
name  from  its  flag,  —  the  Society  of  the  Red  Cross. 

It  was  not  a  secret  or  knightly  order ;  it  wras  just  what 
its  name  purported,  a  society  for  the  relief  of  sufferings 
inseparable  from  war;  a  society  in  whose  benevolent  en- 
deavors all  nations  were  invited  to  participate,  and  which  had 
no  more  official  machinery  than  was  necessary  for  efficient 
working. 

o 

Geneva  was  the  international  centre,  through  which  all 
national  committees  might  confer  with  each  other.  Every 
national  society  was  to  be  responsible  for  the  work  in  its 
own  country,  all  local  societies  being  under  the  direction  of 
their  own  national  head.  Simpler  organization  than  this 
was  scarcely  possible ;  with  it,  great  good  had  already  been 
accomplished. 

Miss  Barton,  with  her  clear-headedness  and  natural  execu- 
tive talent,  saw  at  once  what  a  long  step  forward  in  her  own 
direction  this  society  had  taken.  She  examined  the  matter 
carefully,  and  became  ever,  as  she  says,  "  more  deeply  im- 
pressed with  the  wisdom  of  its  principles,  the  good  practical 
sense  of  its  details,  and  its  extreme  usefulness  in  practice." 


CLARA  BARTON.  109 

With  local  societies  of  this  kind  scattered  over  every 
country,  all  bound  together  for  national  and  international 
work  in  a  world-encircling  bond,  a  world-weight  of  suffering 
might  be  lifted.  It  became  possible,  by  these  means,  "  to 
oppose  the  arms  of  charity  to  the  arms  of  violence,  and  to 
make  a  kind  of  war  upon  war  itself."  For  if  nations  could 
forget  their  separate  causes  of  quarrel  in  trying  to  alleviate 
the  sufferings  which  that  quarrel  had  caused,  would  they  not 
soon  come  to  see  the  inhumanity  of  settling  any  dispute  by 
bloodshed  ?  It  was  a  glimpse  of  the  millennium.  Miss  Barton 
says,  in  one  of  her  addresses  on  this  subject :  — 

"  There  is  not  a  peace  society  on  the  face  of  the  earth 
so  potent,  so  effectual  against  war,  as  the  Ked  Cross  of 
Geneva." 

Europe  was  then  at  peace,  and  Miss  Barton  was  travelling 
on  the  continent  in  the  hope  of  regaining  her  health.  She 
was  unequal  to  any  serious  exertion ;  but  if  we  know  what 
sympathy  with  a  great  cause  and  a  generous  resolution  once 
formed  mean  to  a  nature  like  hers,  —  practical,  decisive, 
loyal,  and  steadfast, — we  can  easily  understand  that  sho  was 
thoroughly  a  member  of  the  Society  of  the  Red  Cross  long 
before  she  served  under  its  banner ;  and  we  shall  not  err  in 
predicting  that  if  one  woman's  efforts  availed,  her  own  country 
would  before  long  enter  into  the  treaty  by  which  other  nations 
had  bound  themselves  together  for  the  mitigation  of  the 
horrors  of  war. 

In  the  summer  of  1870  she  was  at  Berne,  still  a  slowly- 
recovering  invalid.  In  July  of  that  year,  the  continent  was 
startled  by  a  declaration  of  war  —  France  against  Prussia. 

The  summons  to  the  field  was  the  signal  for  the  unfolding 
of  the  Red  Cross  flag.  Within  three  days  after  war  had  been 
declared,  Miss  Barton  was  waited  upon  at  her  villa  by  a 
party,  with  Dr.  Appia,  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Society,  at 
their  head,  who  invited  her  to  go  with  them  to  the  place  of 
conflict,  and  assist  them  in  whatever  way  she  could.  Not 
feeling  able  to  set  out  at  once,  she  followed  them  in  a  few 
days,  taking  with  her  only  one  companion,  a  young  French 


HO  CLARA  BARTON. 

girl,  the  "  fair-haired  Antoinette,"  who  had  offered  herself  to 
the  Eed  Cross  Society  for  active  service. 

They  passed  down  from  Berne  to  Basle,  thence  across  the 
frontier  country  toward  Strasburg,  meeting  everywhere  fly- 
ing, frightened  people,  who  believed  that  they  had  left  their 
native  villages  sacked  behind  them,  as  in  the  barbarous  war- 
fare of  the  Middle  Ages.  The  two  women  were  implored  to 
return.  The  people  could  not  believe  that  they  were  actually 
bound  to  the  battle-field  of  their  own  free  will  and  purpose. 
Pressing  on,  they  at  last  reached  the  German  army,  and  were 
admitted  within  its  lines.  There  they  remained  several  weeks 
—  during  which  time  the  battle  of  Hagenau  was  fought  — 
assisting  in  the  Red  Cross  work. 

Miss  Barton  had  now  opportunity  to  study  the  practical 
operation  of  this  beneficent  organization.  Everything  was 
done  systematically  and  quietly ;  surgeons,  nurses,  assistants 
trained  for  the  emergency  promptly  at  work,  supplies  abun- 
dant, the  wounded  and  the  dead  removed  from  the  battle-field 
at  once,  so  that  the  next  day  none  of  the  dreadful  debris  of 
the  conflict  remained. 

The  terrible  scenes  of  our  own  war  came  back  to  her  in 
vivid  contrast.  She  says  :  "  I  thought  of  the  Peninsula  in 
McClellan's  campaign,  of  Pittsburg  Landing,  Cedar  Moun- 
tain, and  second  Bull  Run,  Antietam,  old  Fredericksburg,  with 
its  acres  of  snow-covered  and  gun-covered  glacis  and  its 
fourth  day  flag  of  truce,  of  its  dead,  and  starving  wounded, 
frozen  to  the  ground,  and  our  commissions  and  their  supplies 
in  Washington  with  no  effective  organization  or  power  to  go 
beyond ;  of  the  Petersburg  mine  with  its  four  thousand  dead 
and  wounded  and  no  flag  of  truce,  the  wounded  broiling  in  a 
July  sun,  the  dead  bodies  putrefying  where  they  fell.  As  I 
saw  the  work  of  these  Red  Cross  societies  in  the  field,  ac- 
complishing in  four  months  under  their  systematic  organiza- 
tion what  we  failed  to  accomplish  in  four  years  without  it,  —  no 
mistakes,  no  needless  suffering,  no  waste,  no  confusion,  but 
order,  plenty,  cleanliness,  and  comfort  wherever  that  little 
flag  made  its  way,  a  whole  continent  marshalled  under  the 


CLARA  BARTON.  Ill 

banner  of  the  Red  Cross,  — as  I  saw  all  this,  and  joined  and 
worked  in  it,  you  will  not  wonder  that  I  said  to  myself,  'If  I 
live  to  return  to  my  country,  I  will  try  to  make  my  people 
understand  the  Red  Cross  and  that  treaty.'  But  I  did  more 
than  to  resolve  ;  I  promised  other  nations  I  would  do  it,  and 
other  reasons  pressed  me  to  remember  my  promise." 

Chief  among  these  reasons  was  the  futility  of  attempts 
made  by  charitable  persons  in  the  United  States  to  relieve 
sufferings  caused  by  the  devastations  of  this  Franco-Prussian 
war.  Ships  were  sent  over,  freighted  with  supplies,  but  when 
these  things  arrived,  no  one  was  authorized  to  receive  them,  and 
for  the  most  part  they  went  to  utter  waste.  Had  they  borne 
the  stamp  of  the  Red  Cross  Society,  they  would  have  been  for- 
warded, and  through  them  a  vast  amount  of  misery  might 
have  been  saved.  It  was  indeed  a  pity  that  so  much  generous 
effort  should  have  failed  of  its  end. 

On  reaching  her  summer  retreat  at  Berne,  Miss  Barton 
learned  that  the  Grand  Duchess  of  Baden  had  been  making 
inquiries  for  her  through  the  legations,  desiring  her  presence 
at  her  court  at  Carlsruhe.  Acceding  to  the  request,  she  found 
the  Grand  Duchess  Louise,  the  only  daughter  of  the  Em- 
peror of  Germany,  a  noble  lady  in  the  noblest  sense  of  the 
word,  whose  warm  heart  was  deeply  moved  by  the  distresses 
of  the  conflicts  in  which  her  nearest  relatives  were  involved, 
—  anxious  to  understand  more  clearly  the  peculiarities  of  the 
field-hospital  service  in  our  civil  war.  There  were  features 
of  it  new  to  her,  which  she  felt  might  be  made  available  to 
relieve  suffering  in  the  German  armies.  The  women  of  her 
country  and  court,  with  herself  at  their  head,  were  already 
doing  their  utmost  under  the  Red  Cross  flag  on  the  battle-field, 
the  "  Frauenverein,"  or  Woman's  Union  of  Baden,  which  had 
grown  up  under  her  patronage,  having  constituted  itself  a 
Society  of  the  Red  Cross.  She  asked  Miss  Barton  to  stay 
with  her,  that  they  might  each  become  acquainted  with  the 
other's  methods,  and  for  an  exchange  of  suggestions. 

The  long,  weary  weeks  of  the  siege  of  Strasburg  had  be- 
gun, and  Miss  Barton  agreed  to  remain  at  Carlsruhe  until  that 


112  CLARA  BARTON. 

was  ended.  As  soon  as  it  was  possible  to  enter  the  city,  she 
must  go  there,  and  help  relieve  the  distresses  the  besieging 
armies  had  caused. 

During  this  visit  she  was  enabled  to  see  how  generously 
the  Grand  Duchess  had  devoted  herself  to  the  aid  of  wounded 
men,  whether  foes  or  friends.  Miss  Barton  says :  "  Her 
many  and  beautiful  castles,  with  their  magnificent  grounds, 
throughout  all  Baden,  were  at  once  transformed  into  military 
hospitals,  and  her  entire  court,  with  herself  at  its  head, 
formed  into  a  committee  of  superintendence  and  organization 
for  relief.  I  have  seen  a  wounded  Arab  from  the  French 
armies,  who  knew  no  word  of  any  language  but  his  own, 
stretch  out  his  arms  to  her  in  adoration  and  blessing  as  she 
passed  his  bed." 

No  wonder  that  two  workers  like  these,  so  earnestly  unsel- 
fish, found  themselves  one  in  a  friendship  which  has  remained 
undimmed  through  the  flight  of  busy  years.  Miss  Barton 
still  has  frequent  letters  from  the  Grand  Duchess,  and  she 
cherishes  among  her  treasured  mementos  a  beautiful  gold-and- 
enamel  Red  Cross  brooch,  presented  to  her  before  they  parted 
by  that  lady ;  who  also,  with  her  husband,  the  Grand  Duke, 
decorated  her  with  the  Gold  Cross  of  Remembrance,  attached 
to  the  colors  of  the  Grand  Duchy  of  Baden. 

The  Empress  Augusta,  with  the  Emperor,  conferred  upon 
her  the  Iron  Cross  of  Merit,  accompanied  by  the  colors  of 
Germany  and  the  Red  Cross  —  the  Iron  Cross  being  only 
bestowed  upon  those  who  have  earned  it  by  deeds  of  heroism 
on  the  battle-field. 

Those  were  anxious  weeks  that  Miss  Barton  passed  with 
her  noble  hostess  at  Carlsruhe,  for  the  sufferers  within  the 
besieged  city  could  neither  be  heard  from  nor  approached. 
But  at  last  Strasburg  yielded.  The  gates  were  thrown  open, 
and  the  German  army  entered;  and  with  it,  Miss  Barton 
made  her  way  across  the  Rhine,  and  into  the  city  unattended, 
for  so  she  always  chose  to  go  to  her  army  work. 

She  found  sad  havoc  there,  but  the  wounded  by  shot  and 
shell  were  well  cared  for  by  the  Sisters  of  Mercy.  The  con- 


1.     CLARA  BARTON  ENTERING  STRASBURO  WITH  THE  GERMAN  ARMY. 
2.     THE  BANNER  OF  THE  BED  CROSS. 


CLARA  BARTON.  113 

dition  of  the  poorer  people,  whose  employments  had  been 
stopped,  and  who  were  degenerating  into  rags  and  pauperism, 
she  saw  required  immediate  attention.  Squalid  and  half- 
starved,  huddled  into  cellars  where  they  had  gone  for  shelter 
during  the  bombardment,  their  destitution  was  painful  beyond 
description.  Having  looked  into  their  wants,  and  returned 
for  a  brief  conference  with  the  Grand  Duchess,  she  estab- 
lished herself  among  these  poor  women  with  only  one  assist- 
ant ;  this  time  the  faithful,  devoted  Anna  Zimmerman. 

The  details  of  the  work  these  two  did  cannot  be  given 
here,  but  they  are  intensely  interesting.  All  that  can  be  said 
is  that  the  raising  of  hundreds  of  women  from  utterly  de- 
moralized poverty  to  a  well-clad,  self-helpful  condition, 
seems  to  us,  as  it  seemed  to  the  leading  men  of  Strasburg, 
who  watched  its  progress  and  lent  it  their  aid,  well  nigh 
miraculous. 

A  similar  work  of  relief  was  carried  on  by  Miss  Barton  in 
other  cities  which  had  suffered  from  siege.  We  hear  of  her 
aiding  the  starving  inhabitants  of  Metz,  ministering  to  the 
wounded  returning  from  Sedan,  and  distributing  at  Belfort, 
Montbeliard,  and  in  Paris,  the  large  contributions  of  the  Bos- 
ton Reliei  Fund,  which  its  agent  had  intrusted  to  her  care. 
She  reached  Paris  in  the  closing  days  of  the  Commune,  bring- 
ing with  her  large  supplies  of  clothing  from  Strasburg  —  the 
work  of  the  women  she  had  helped  —  as  the  gift  of  the  poor 
of  that  city  to  the  poor  of  Paris. 

Here  she  remained  several  weeks,  acting  under  the  direc- 
tion of  the  Prefect,  whose  house  she  had  been  invited  to  make 
her  headquarters  for  the  distribution  of  supplies.  She  gave 
with  her  own  hands,  into  the  hands  of  every  needy  person 
sent  to  her,  money  or  clothing,  as  the  case  required,  taking 
the  name  of  every  one  who  was  assisted,  and  rendering  an 
account  of  the  same,  exact  to  a  franc. 

This  has  always  been  Miss  Barton's  method.  She  has  done 
nothing  irresponsibly  ;  and  through  her  careful  business  hab- 
its, and  direct  sympathetic  contact  with  the  people  she  has 
served,  she  has  come  into  those  personal  relations  by  which 


114   .  CLAKA  BARTON. 

the  ties  of  human  fraternity  are  made  real  and  strong.  Her 
image  is,  beyond  doubt,  enshrined  in  the  memory  of  a  great 
multitude  of  the  European  poor,  with  gratitude  that  borders 
upon  adoration. 

Such  labors  are  not  carried  on  without  drawing  upon 
one's  treasury  of  vital  power  to  the  last  farthing.  Miss 
Barton  was  far  from  well  when  she  began  them,  not  having 
recovered  from  the  strain  of  service  during  our  own  war, 
and  when  she  crossed  over  from  the  continent  to  London 
she  fell  ill,  and  lay  there  a  long  time,  unable  to  return  to 
America. 

She  came  back  in  1873,  but  through  extreme  physical  pros- 
tration, she  was  for  several  years  debarred  from  all  exertion. 
As  soon  as  she  was  able,  she  went  to  Washington,  to  urge 
the  acceptance  of  the  Geneva  treaty,  under  which  the  phil- 
anthropic work  of  the  Red  Cross  might  be  efficiently  or- 
ganized. 

The  matter  was  delayed,  apparently  for  no  other  reason 
than  that  it  had  always  been  delayed.  No  satisfactory  re- 
sponse vvas  received  until  the  inauguration  of  President  Gar- 
field.  From  him  it  met  with  prompt  approval,  and  only  the 
assassin's  hand  stayed  his  from  signing  the  treaty.  It  re- 
ceived the  signature  of  his  successor,  President  Arthur,  in 
March,  1882  ;  and  our  country  may  know  that  one  of  its 
wisest,  most  humane  treaties  exists  through  the  unwearying 
perseverance  of  a  woman. 

In  1877  a  few  ladies  and  gentlemen  had  formed  themselves, 
at  Washington,  into  an  "American  National  Committee  of  the 
Red  Cross,"  which,  on  President  Garfield's  accession,  reorgan- 
ized, and  was  incorporated  under  the  title  of  the  "  American 
Association  of  the  Red  Cross."  Miss  Barton  was  appointed 
to  the  presidency  of  this  society  by  the  martyred  Garfield 
himself,  and  since  that  time  she  has  devoted  herself  to  carry- 
ing out  its  benevolent  purposes. 

It  is  to  be  hoped  that  we  shall  have  no  more  wars  of  our 
own ;  atid,  knowing  that  we  are  less  exposed  to  that  scourge 
than  the  more  crowded  nations  of  Europe,  the  provisions  of 


CLARA  BARTON.  115 

the  American  Society  have  been  extended  so  as  to  cover  the 
calamities  to  which  we  are  peculiarly  liable  by  fire,  flood,  and 
pestilence. 

Great  help  has  already  been  rendered  in  various  disasters. 
The  Red  Cross  Society  of  Western  New  York  at  once  sent 
relief  to  the  sufferers  by  the  terrible  fires  in  Michigan ;  and 
from  Mississippi,  and  from  Louisiana,  where  there  is  a  State 
organization  earnestly  at  work,  come  back  words  of  overflow- 
ing gratitude  for  aid  from  the  National  Association  during  the 
recent  devastating  floods.  It  is  easy  to  see,  now  that  Clara 
Barton  shows  it  to  us,  that  this  work  is  one  that  belongs  to 
erery  city  and  town  in  the  country ;  and  the  people  are  see- 
ing it,  and  are  everywhere  gathering  themselves  together 
under  the  banner  of  the  Red  Cross. 

It  is  scarcely  possible  to  know  Miss  Barton  and  not  catch 
from  her  a  contagion  of  enthusiasm  for  her  work  —  for  her 
work  is  herself.  Under  her  quiet  demeanor,  one  feels  the 
stirring  of  irresistible  energies,  centred  and  steady  as  the 
forces  of  the  universe.  And  these  energies  all  move  forward 
to  beneficent  ends,  warmed  and  impelled  by  a  heart  over- 
flowing with  sympathy.  How  little  she  has  thought  of  her- 
self, how  willingly  she  has  given  all  she  has,  —  time,  thought, 
strength,  money,  —  to  carry  out  her  generous  plans,  one  sees 
incidentally  only  in  reviewing  her  life,  for  by  no  hint  of  hers 
would  it  appear  that  she  has  done  what  she  has,  except  as  the 
simplest  matter  of  course,  because  it  fell  into  her  hands  to 
be  done. 

"  I  have  no  mission,"  she  says.  "I  have  never  had  a  mis- 
sion. But  I  have  always  had  more  work  than  I  could  do 
lying  around  my  feet,  and  I  try  hard  to  get  it  out  of  the  way, 
so  as  to  go  on  and  do  the  next." 

Large  in  her  comprehensions,  and  of  penetrative  insight, 
careful,  just,  systematic,  her  work  has  to  be  done  well,  or  not 
at  all.  There  is  nothing  of  the  visionary  in  her  composition. 
Life  presents  itself  to  her  in  its  practical  issues,  which  she 
meets  with  the  grand  calmness  of  a  nature  thoroughly  disci- 
plined. A  woman  of  simple  manners,  carrying  with  her  no 


116  CLARA  BARTON. 

air  of  superiority,  she  is  one  of  the  very  few  whose  life  illus- 
trates to  the  world  the  heroic  womanly  ideal. 

Miss  Barton,  having  accepted  the  superintendency  of  the 
Reformatory  Prison  for  Women  at  Sherburne,  Mass.,  entered 
upon  her  duties  there  in  May,  1883.  The  work  is  different 
from  any  in  which  she  has  hitherto  been  engaged ;  but  it 
seems  not  unsuitable  that  she  who  has  done  so  much  to  re- 
lieve sufferers  in  other  conflicts,  should  devote  herself  to  the 
fallen  on  moral  battle-fields.  For  this  work,  she  may  wear 
her  Red  Cross  badge  with  an  added  meaning,  —  the  cross  of 
sacrifice,  whereby  souls  are  to  be  won  back  to  purity  and 
peace. 

But  she  resigns  nothing  of  the  larger  responsibility  she  had 
already  assumed.  She  is  pledged  to  the  American  Associa- 
tion of  the  Red  Cross  as  its  President,  to  carry  on  its  work 
until  the  men  and  women  of  her  country  shall  take  it  into 
their  hearts  and  hands,  where  she  feels  that  it  belongs.  So 
entirely  is  she  wedded  to  her  grand  purpose,  it  does  not  seem 
strange  to  hear  her  say,  "Until  this  work  is  done,  I  cannot 
go  to  heaven." 


CHAPTER  V. 
MAKY    LOUISE    BOOTH. 

BY  HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD. 

A  Woman  of  Rare  Intellect  —  Childhood  of  Mary  Louise  Booth  —  An  Inde- 
fatigable Little  Student  —  Beginning  of  Her  Literary  Life  —  A  Great 
Historical  Work  —  Breaking  Out  of  the  Civil  War  —  Miss  Booth's  Sym- 
pathy with  the  North  —  Her  Anxiety  to  Help  the  Cause  —  How  She  did 
it  — A  Prodigious  Task  —  "  It  Shall  be  Done"  —  Her  Marvellous  Industry 
and  Perseverance  —  Charles  Sumner's  Friendship  —  A  Letter  of  Thanks 
from  Abraham  Lincoln — Assuming  the  Management  of  "Harper's 
Bazaar" — A  Signal  Success  —  A  Model  Paper  —  Miss  Booth's  Home  — 
True  Hospitality  —  Pen-portrait  of  a  Gifted  Woman. 

EW  women  in  America  have  wielded  the  influence, 
both  in  public  and  in  domestic  matters,  that  has 
been  exercised  by  Mary  Louise  Booth,  or  have 
performed  their  part  so  quietly ;  for  her  work 
in  the  civil  war  was  great  as  ever  woman  was 
called  to  do,  and  her  editorial  work  since  that 
time  has  given  the  keynote  to  life  in  a  hundred 
thousand  homes,  and  penetrated  them  with  that 
spirit  of  innocence,  dignity,  poetry,  and  industry 
which  actuates  all  her  endeavors. 
The  subject  of  this  sketch  wras  a  precocious  child,  —  so 
much  so  that,  on  being  asked,  she  once  confessed  she  had  no 
more  recollection  of  learning  to  read  either  French  or  English 
than  of  learning  to  talk.  As  soon  as  she  could  walk,  her 
mother  says,  she  was  following  her  about,  book  in  hand,  beg- 
ging to  be  taught  to  read  stories  for  herself.  She  read  them 
soon  to  so  much  purpose  that  before  she  was  five  years  old 
she  had  finished  the  Bible,  being  rewarded  by  a  polyglot 
Testament  for  the  feat,  and  had  also  read  Plutarch,  which  at 
every  subsequent  reading  has  given  her  an  equal  pleasure, 
8  117 


118  MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH. 

and  at  seven  had  mastered  Racine  in  the  original,  upon  which 
she  began  the  study  of  Latin  with  her  father. 

From  that  time  she  was  an  indefatigable  reader,  troubling 
her  parents  only  by  her  devotion  to  books  rather  than  to  the 
play  natural  to  her  age.  Her  father  had  a  considerable 
library,  the  contents  of  every  book  in  which  she  made  her 
own,  always  preferring  history,  —  before  she  had  finished  her 
tenth  year  being  acquainted  with  Hume,  Gibbon,  Alison,  and 
kindred  writers. 

At  this  point  she  was  sent  away  to  school.  Her  father  and 
mother,  seeing  the  intellect  for  which  they  were  responsible, 
took  all  possible  pains  with  her  education,  and  fortunately  her 
physical  strength  was  sufficient  to  carry  her  through  an  unin- 
terrupted course  in  different  academies  and  a  series  of  lessons 
with  masters  at  home.  She  cared  more  for  languages  and 
natural  sciences,  in  which  she  was  very  proficient,  than  for 
most  other  studies,  and  took  no  especial  pleasure  in  mathe- 
matics. 

When  she  was  about  thirteen  years  of  age  her  father 
moved  his  family  from  the  quiet  and  pretty  little  village  in 
Suffolk  County,  New  York,  with  the  quaint  Indian  name  of 
Yaphank,  in  which  she  was  born,  to  Brooklyn,  E.D.,  and 
there  Mr.  Booth  organized  the  first  public  school  that  was 
established  in  that  city. 

Mr.  William  Chatfield  Booth  was  a  man  well  qualified  both 
by  education  and  by  native  character  for  the  guidance  of  such 
an  intelligence  as  that  developed  by  his  daughter.  Deeply 
interested  in  scholarly  matters,  a  man  of  great  directness  of 
purpose  and  of  fearless  integrity,  he  and  his  daughter  were  in 
perfect  sympathy,  and  he  watched  her  growth  with  tender 
solicitude,  and  in  subsequent  years  cherished  with  pride  every 
word  of  her  writing.  But  he  could  never  quite  bring  him- 
self to  believe,  even  after  she  had  won  a  handsome  independ- 
ence by  her  exertions,  that  she  was  really  altogether  capable 
of  her  own  support,  and  always  insisted  upon  making  her  the 
most  generous  gifts.  As  the  President  of  the  United  States 
lately  said  of  him,  "  A  kinder  and  more  honorable  gentleman 


I 

MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  119 

it  would  be  hard  to  find."  Another  daughter  and  two  sons 
comprised  the  remainder  of  his  family,  the  younger  of  the 
sons,  Colonel  Charles  A.  Booth,  who  has  seen  some  twenty 
years'  service  in  the  army,  having  been  born  so  much  later 
than  herself  that  he  was  naturally  his  sister's  idol  from  his 
infancy. 

Mr.  Booth  was  descended  from  one  of  our  earliest  settlers, 
John  Booth,  who  came  to  this  country  in  1649,  a  kinsman  of 
the  Sir  George  Booth,  afterwards  Baron  Delamere  and  Earl 
of  Warrington,  who,  as  the  faithful  friend  and  companion  of 
Charles  II.  in  his  exile  and  wanderings,  only  showed  that 
trait  of  fidelity  to  friendship  which  still  marks  his  race. 
In  1652  Ensign  John  Booth  purchased  Shelter  Island  from 
the  Indians,  and  the  original  deed  is  yet  in  possession  of  the 
family  who,  for  two  hundred  years  and  over,  have  not 
wandered  a  great  way  from  the  region  where  their  ancestor 
made  his  first  home  on  these  shores. 

Miss  Booth's  mother,  who  is  still  living,  at  the  age  of 
eighty,  active  and  vigorous  in  body  and  in  mind,  shows  her 
origin  so  plainly  in  her  sparkling  black  eyes,  her  vivacity, 
her  picturesqueness,  and  her  gentle  manners  that  it  is  hardly 
necessary  to  say  one  of  her  grandparents  was  a  French 
emigrg  of  the  Revolution. 

Miss  Booth's  literary  career  began,  as  might  be  expected,  at 
an  early  age.  She  had  the  foundation  of  long  and  hard  study, 
and  extensive  reading,  aided  by  an  immense  memory,  an  in- 
tense enthusiasm  and  faculty  of  appreciation,  and  a  poetic  soul. 
Her  writing  at  first  consisted  chiefly  of  sketches,  essays, 
and  poems.  But  after  compiling  the  " Marble- Worker's 
Manual,"  and  the  "Clock  and  Watchmaker's  Manual,"  both 
successful  and  standard  works  in  request  by  artisans,  and 
rendering  French  and  German  with  such  ease  and  freedom  as 
she  did,  she  by  degrees  drifted  into  translation  more  than 
she  had  intended,  the  field  being  almost  entirely  unoccupied. 
She  translated  and  published  Mary's  "  Andre  Ch^nier," 
Victor  Cousin's  "  Life  and  Times  of  Madame  de  Chevreuse," 
Marmier's  "  Russian  Tales,"  and  Sue's  "  Mysteries  of  the 


120  MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH. 

People,"  connecting  her  name  inseparably  with  all  these 
works,  and  with  Edinond  About's  exquisite  creation  of 
r  Germaine,"  and  "King  of  the  Mountain"  —  the  latter  of 
which  remains  an  inimitable  burlesque  of  modern  Greek 
government  to  this  day — as  the  epigrammatic  brilliancy  and 
beauty  of  the  style  of  which  she  has  rendered  as  an  object  is 
reflected  in  a  mirror. 

Miss  Booth  was  still  scarcely  more  than  a  young  girl  when 
a  friend  suggested  to  her  that  no  complete  history  of  the  city 
of  New  York  had  ever  been  written,  and  that  it  might 
be  well  to  prepare  such  a  one  for  the  use  of  schools. 
Although  without  ambition  to  attempt  the  impossible,  yet 
never  daunted  by  the  possible,  she  has  that  patience  and 
perseverance  which  is  as  much  a  second  description  of  genius 
as  of  valor,  and  she  at  once  busied  herself  in  the  under- 
taking, and,  after  some  years  spent  in  preparation,  finished 
one  that  became,  on  the  request  of  a  publisher,  the  basis  of 
a  more  important  work  upon  the  same  subject,  her  material 
having  far  outgrown  the  limits  proposed,  and  her  experience 
having  taught  her  the  best  way  of  using  it. 

This  task  was  thoroughly  delightful  and  congenial  to  her 
taste  and  capacity.  She  knew,  moreover,  that  it  was  no 
petty  work,  as  many  of  the  most  stirring  events  of  colonial 
and  national  history  were  connected  with  its  story,  and  she 
loved  the  city  of  her  adoption  as  if  it  had  been  the  place  of 
her  birth. 

"It  is  certain,"  she  says,  "that  New  York  is  rich  in 
memories,  which  are  worthy  of  the  most  reverent  respect, 
and  which  belong  alike  to  all  its  inhabitants,  but  which  are 
too  often  unheeded.  Throngs  of  busy  citizens  pass  and 
repass  the  grave  of  Stuyvesant  and  the  tomb  of  Montgomery, 
ignorant  of  their  locality,  and  look  with  indifference  on  the 
Battery,  and  Bowling  Green,  teeming  with  reminiscences  of 
the  old  Dutch  Colony  days,  and  on  that  cradle  of  liberty,  the 
Park,  where  still  may  be  seen  one  of  the  old  prison-houses 
of  the  Revolution.  In  these  things  we  are  far  more  remiss 
than  our  neighbors.  Boston  never  forgets  to  celebrate  her 


MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  121 

tea-party ;  few  New  Yorkers  even  know  that  a  similar  one 
was  once  held  in  their  own  harbor.  Boston  proudly  commem- 
orates her  "  Massacre  ;  "  —  how  many  New  Yorkers  are  aware 
that  two  months  previous  to  this  brief  affray,  the  earliest 
battle  of  the  Revolution,  lasting  two  days,  was  fought  in  the 
streets  of  New  York,  on  Golden  Hill,  where  the  first  blood  was 
shed  in  the  cause  of  freedom  ?  " 

During  the  course  of  her  historical  work,  Miss  Booth  met 
with  great  and  spontaneous  kindness  on  all  sides.  She  had 
the  fullest  access  to  libraries  and  archives,  accessible  to  but 
few,  and  received  from  everybody  the  most  considerate 
courtesy  ;  especially  did  the  older  historians  seem  pleased  that 
a  young  girl  should  exhibit  such  powers  and  such  inclina- 
tions, and  they  admitted  her  to  the  guild  with  the  ceremony 
of  every  kindness  at  the^r  command.  Washington  Irving 
sent  her  a  letter  of  cordial  encouragement,  and  D.  T.  Valen- 
tine, Henry  B.  Dawson,  W.  J.  Davis,  E.  B.  O'Callaghan, 
and  numerous  others  showered  her  with  documents  and  every 
assistance.  "  My  Dear  Miss  Booth,"  writes  Benson  G. 
Lossing,  "  the  citizens  of  New  York  owe  you  a  debt  of  grati- 
tude for  this  popular  story  of  the  life  of  the  great  metropolis, 
containing  so  many  important  facts  in  its  history,  and 
included  in  one  volume  accessible  to  all.  I  congratulate  you 
on  the  completeness  of  the  task  and  the  admirable  manner  in 
which  it  has  been  performed." 

The  history  appeared  in  one  large  volume,  and  met  at  once 
with  a  generous  welcome,  whose  pecuniary  results  were  very 
considerable.  So  satisfactory,  indeed,  was  its  reception,  that 
the  publisher  proposed  to  her  to  go  abroad  and  write  popular 
histories  of  the  great  European  capitals,  London,  Paris, 
Berlin,  and  Vienna.  It  was  a  bright  vision  for  the  young 
writer,  but  the  approach  of  war  and  other  fortuitous  circum- 
stances prevented  its  becoming  a  reality. 

A  second  edition  of  the  history  was  published  in  1867,  and 
a  third  edition,  revised  and  brought  down  to  date,  appeared 
in  1880.  A  large  paper  edition  of  the  work  was  taken  by 
well-known  book-collectors,  extended  and  illustrated  by  them 


122  MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH. 

with  supplementary  prints,  portraits,  and  autographs  on  the 
interleaved  pages.  One  copy,  enlarged  to  folio  and  extended 
to  nine  volumes  by  several  thousand  maps,  letters,  and  other 
illustrations,  is  owned  in  the  city  of  Naw  York,  and  is  an 
unequalled  treasure-house  of  interest ;  Miss  Booth  herself 
owns  a  copy  that  was  presented  to  her  by  an  eminent  bib- 
liopolist,  enriched  by  more  than  two  thousand  of  those  illus- 
trations on  inserted  leaves ;  and  a  collector  in  Chicago  is  so 
in  love  with  the  great  city  and  with  the  work  recounting  its 
part  in  the  drama  of  civilization,  that  he  has  extended  his 
own  copy  to  twenty-two  volumes. 

The  first  sentences  of  the  book  enlist  the  attention  of  the 
reader,  as  they  present  a  picture  of  the  wilderness  of  Man- 
hattan Island  in  vivid  contrast  to  the  peopled  and  cultured 
city  of  to-day.  "At  this  time,  yie  Dutch  were  the  richest 
commercial  nation  on  the  globe.  Having  conquered  their 
independence  from  Spain,  and  their  country  from  the  sea, 
they  turned  their  attention  to  commerce,  and  with  such 
success  that  it  was  not  long  before  their  sails  whitened  the 
waters  of  every  clime.  A  thousand  vessels  were  built  annually 
in  Holland,  and  an  extensive  trade  was  carried  on  with  all  the 
European  nations.  But  their  richest  commerce  was  with  the 
East  Indies ;  and  the  better  to  secure  themselves  against 
all  competition,  the  merchants  engaged  in  this  traffic  had, 
in  1602,  obtained  a  charter  of  incorporation  for  twenty-one 
years  from  the  States  General,  under  the  name  of  the  East 
India  Company,  granting  them  the  exclusive  monopoly  of 
the  trade  in  tli3  Eastern  seas  beyond  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope  on  one  side  and  the  Straits  of  Magellan  on  the  other, 
with  other  valuable  privileges. 

"This  obtained,  it  next  became  desirable  to  shorten  the 
passage  thither,  and  thus  to  render  the  commerce  more 
lucrative.  The  voyage  to  China  by  the  only  known  route,  — 
that  by  the  way  of  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  —  consumed  two 
years,  and  the  time  seemed  long  to  the  impatient  merchants. 
It  was  thought  that  a  more  expeditious  passage  might  be  dis- 
covered by  the  way  of  the  Polar  seas,  and  three  expeditions, 


MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  123 

under  the  command  of  Barentsen,  Cornelissen,  and  Heems- 
kerck,  were  despatched,  one  after  the  other,  in  search  of  it. 
But  they  found  nothing  but  snow  and  ice,  where  they  had 
hoped  to  find  a  clear  sea,  and  they  returned  after  having 
endured  unheard-of  hardships  and  earned  a  lasting  fame  as 
the  earliest  Polar  navigators." 

With  this  she  tells  the  story  of  Henry  Hudson,  sailing  in 
his  yacht,  the  "  Half-Moon,"  up  "  the  beautiful  river  with  its 
lofty  palisades,  its  broad  bays,  its  picturesque  bends,  its 
romantic  highlands,  and  its  rocky  shores  covered  with  luxu- 
riant forests." 

As  the  tale  proceeds,  the  origin  of  the  Patroon  system  is 
explained ;  vigorous  outlines  are  drawn  of  the  robust  ad- 
venturers and  of  the  various  early  governors  ;  the  exploits  of 
the  renowned  Wouter  Van  Twiller  are  recounted  with  as 
much  quiet  humor  as  the  stories  of  the  Indian  troubles,  the 
Leisler  affair,  and  the  relation  of  the  Colony  to  the  revolu- 
tion of  1689,  are  given  with  dramatic  vividness,  and  a  com- 
plete Dutch  painting  is  made  of  New  Amsterdam  in  the  old 
Dutch  Colony  days,  making  an  invaluable  record. 

"The  province  thus  passed  away  forever  from  the  hands  of 
its  Dutch  rulers,"  says  the  author,  at  the  conclusion  of  this 
epoch,  "but  many  years  elapsed  before  the  Holland  manners 
and  customs  were  uprooted,  and  New  York  became  in  truth 
an  English  city.  Indeed,  some  of  them  linger  still,  and  New 
York  yet  retains  a  marked  individuality  which  distinguishes 
it  from  the  eastern  cities  and  savors  strongly  of  its  Dutch 
origin.  The  memorials  of  the  Dutch  dynasty  have  fallen  one 
by  one  ;  the  Stuy  vesant  pear-tree  was  long  the  last  token  in 
being  of  the  flourishing  nation  which  so  long  possessed  the 
city  of  New  Amsterdam,  — the  last  link  that  connected  the 
present  with  the  traditional  past,  —  and  this  fell  in  1867, 
before  the  slow  decay  of  age.  But  the  broad  and  liberal 
nature  of  the  early  settlers  is  still  perpetuated  in  the  cosmo- 
politan character  of  the  city,  in  its  freedom  from  exclusive- 
ness,  in  its  religious  tolerance,  and  in  its  extended  views  of 
men  and  things.  .  .  .  The  Dutch  language  has  disappeared, 


124  MARY   LOUISE   BOOTH. 

the  Dutch  signs  have  passed  away  from  the  streets,  and  the 
Dutch  manners  and  customs  are  forgotten  save  in  a  few 
strongholds  of  the  ancient  Knickerbocker.  But  the  Dutch 

o 

spirit  has  not  yet  died  out,  —  enough  of  it  is  still  remaining 
to  enable  New  York  to  trace  its  lineage  in  a  direct  line  to  its 
parent, — New  Amsterdam." 

As  we  continue  to  turn  these  enchaining  pages,  we  find  the 
true  story  of  Captain  Kidd  recited  for  the  first  time,  the  great 
negro  plot,  whose  atrocities  far  outdid  those  of  the  Salem 
witchcraft,  rehearsed  with  judicial  impartiality,  the  era  of 
the  Revolution  set  before  us  in  burning  words,  and  all  the 
events  of  the  life  of  the  great  city,  so  intertwined  with 
the  national  life,  are  swiftly  and  strongly  told,  down  to 
the  times  of  the  cruel  draft  riots  and  the  robberies  of  the 
'ring,'  which  are  yet  unnoted  by  any  other  historian. 
Here  and  there  a  lively  anecdote  brightens  the  text ;  a 
character  is  limned  in  black  and  white  so  sharply  that  one 
sees  wh}r  the  traits  of  the  old  Stuyvesants,  Van  Rensselaers, 
and  Rapelyes,  should  still  mark  their  descendants,  or  a  bit  of 
forcible  word-painting  is  given,  as  in  the  sketch  of  the  foun- 
dation of  the  fur-trade  which  made  the  beginning  of  so  many 
colossal  fortunes.  "This  opening  of  a  new  path  in  commerce 
wrought  a  revolution  in  the  aims  and  lives  of  the  young  men 
of  the  city.  These  youths,  instead  of  remaining,  as  formerly, 
behind  their  fathers'  counters,  or  entering  the  beaten  track 
of  the  West  India  trade,  now  provided  themselves  with  a 
stock  of  guns  and  blankets,  and  set  out  with  a  trusty  servant 
in  a  bark  canoe  to  explore  the  pathless  wilderness.  Here 
they  roamed  for  months  in  the  primeval  forests,  forced  at 
every  step  to  turn  aside  to  avoid  some  deadly  reptile  or  fierce 
beast  of  prey,  or  to  guard  against  the  wiles  of  an  insidious 
foe,  ever  on  the  alert  to  entrap  them  in  some  snare,  and  to 
purchase  their  goods  at  the  expense  of  their  lives.  Forced 
to  depend  for  their  subsistence  on  the  quickness  of  their  eye 
and  the  sureness  of  their  aim,  to  journey  by  day  through 
thicket  and  marsh,  over  cataract  and  rapid,  to  sleep  at  night 
with  no  other  canopy  than  the  stars  and  sky,  and  to  be  con- 


MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  125 

stantly  on  their  guard  against  the  unseen  danger  which  was 
lurking  everywhere  about  them — this  forest  education  called 
forth  all  their  resources  of  courage  and  sagacity,  and  they 
came  from  the  trial  with  muscles  of  iron,  nerves  of  steel,  and 
a  head  and  eye  that  never  flinched  before  the  most  deadly 
peril.  No  fiction  of  romance  can  surpass  the  adventurous 
career  of  those  daring  travellers  who  thus  pursued  the  golden 
fleece  in  the  wilds  of  America ;  and  those  who  came  forth 
from  this  school  of  danger  were  well  fitted  to  play  their  part 
in  the  approaching  tragedies  of  the  French  and  Indian  war 
and  the  drama  of  the  coming  Revolution." 

To  linger  a  moment  on  a  subject  where  there  is  still  so 
much  to  be  said,  perhaps  no  better  example  can  be  seen  of 
the  facile  grace  of  the  author's  style  and  the  calm  and  well- 
balanced  power  of  presenting  a  case  than  in  the  following 
extract  from  this  work,  which  has  the  interest  of  a  romance 
and  the  value  of  an  encyclopedia  of  reference  :  "  The  truth  is 
that  Great  Britain  contemptuously  regarded  the  colonists  as 
rich  barbarians,  the  chief  end  of  whose  existence  was  to  fur- 
nish an  ample  revenue  to  the  mother-country.  Their  interests 
were  wholly  disregarded  in  the  government  councils,  and  the 
restrictions  imposed  on  them  were  rigorous  in  the  extreme. 
The  English  parliament  claimed  the  right  of  regulating  the 
trade  of  the  colonies,  and,  under  cover  of  this  pretext,  levied 
heavy  duties  upon  imports,  ostensibly  for  the  purpose  of  de- 
fraying custom-house  expenses,  and  at  the  same  time  sedu- 
lously suppressed  all  attempts  at  home  manufactures.  By  a 
series  of  navigation  acts,  the  colonists  were  forbidden  to  trade 
with  any  foreign  country,  or  to  export  to  England  merchan- 
dise of  their  own  in  any  but  English  vessels.  The  country 
was  full  of  iron,  but  not  an  axe  or  a  hammer  could  be  manu- 
factured by  the  inhabitants  without  violating  the  law.  Beaver 
was  abundant,  but  to  limit  its  manufacture  no  hatter  was  per- 
mitted to  have  more  than  two  apprentices,  and  not  a  hat  could 
be  sold  from  one  colony  to  another.  Of  the  wool  which  was 
sheared  in  such  abundance  from  the  flocks,  not  a  yard  of 
cloth  could  be  manufactured  except  for  private  use,  nor  a 


126  MARY  LOUISE   BOOTH. 

pound  exported  from  one  town  to  another ;  but  the  raw  mate- 
rial must  all  be  sent  to  England  to  be  manufactured  there, 
then  to  come  back  as  imported  cloths,  laden  with  heavy 
duties.  Imposts  were  also  levied  upon  sugar,  molasses,  and 
all  articles  of  foreign  luxury  imported  into  the  colonies,  and 
America  was,  in  fact,  regarded  only  as  a  place  from  which  to 
raise  money. 

"  Notwithstanding,  the  colonists  had  patiently  submitted  to 
this  manifest  injustice.  They  had  evaded  the  payment  of  the 
duties  by  living  frugally  and  dispensing  with  the  luxuries 
which  could  only  be  obtained  at  such  a  cost.  They  had 
accepted  the  royal  governors,  profligate  and  imbecile  as  they 
often  were,  and  had  contented  themselves  with  opposing  their 
unjust  exactions.  In  the  French  and  Indian  wars  they  had 
acted  nobly,  and  by  lavish  expenditure  of  their  blood  and 
treasure  had  secured  to  England  the  possession  of  a  rich  and 
long-coveted  territory.  These  wars,  which  had  added  such 
lustre  to  the  crown  of  Great  Britain,  and  had  secured  the 
broad  lands  of  Canada  to  her  domain,  had  cost  the  colonies 
thirty  thousand  of  their  bravest  soldiers  and  left  them  bur- 
dened with  a  debt  of  thirteen  million  pounds.  But,  in- 
satiable in  her  desires,  in  return  for  this  she  required  still 
more.  The  country  which  had  been  able  to  contribute  so 
largely  in  the  intercolonial  wars  had  not,  she  thought,  been 
taxed  to  the  utmost,  and,  in  order  to  wring  from  it  a  still 
larger  revenue,  new  means  were  proposed  by  the  British 
ministry  for  establishing  a  system  of  parliamentary  taxation, 
—  a  right  which  the  colonists  had  ever  persistently  denied." 

Shortly  after  the  publication  of  the  first  edition  of  this 
invaluable  work,  the  civil  war  broke  out.  Miss  Booth  had 
always  been  a  warm  anti-slavery  partisan  and  a  sympathizer 
with  movements  for  what  she  considered  true  progress, 
although  directed  by  that  calm  judgment  which  never  lets 
the  heart  run  away  with  the  head.  But  here  heart  and 
head  were  in  accord,  the  country  was  aflame  with  fervor  to 
prevent  the  destruction  of  the  noblest  government  ever  given 
to  man ;  and  all  hoped  that  a  certain  result  of  the  struirzle 


MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  127 

would  be  that  universal  freedom  without  which  the  freedom 
already  vaunted  was  a  lie. 

Miss  Booth  was,  of  course,  enlisted  on  the  side  of  the 
Union,  and  longing  to  do  something  to  help  the  cause  in 
which  she  so  ardently  believed.  She  did  not  feel  herself 
qualified  to  act  as  a  nurse  in  the  military  hospitals,  not  only 
having  that  inherent  antipathy  to  the  sight  of  sickness  and 
suffering  common  to  many  poetic  natures,  although  willing 
to  endure  all  that  such  sight  and  association  could  bring,  but 
being,  through  her  life  among  books^  too  inexperienced  in  such 
work  to  venture  assuming  its  tasks  with  their  consequent  risk 
of  life.  Still  something  she  must  do.  That  she  had  sent  her 
brother  to  the  front,  scarcely  more  than  a  boy,  as  he  was, 
seemed  not  half  enough  ;  and,  when,  while  burning  with  eager- 
ness she  received  an  advance  copy  of  Count  Agenor  de  Gas- 
parin's  "  Uprising  of  a  Great  People,"  she  at  once  saw  her 
opportunity  in  bringing  heartening  words  to  those  in  the 
terrible  struggle. 

She  took  the  work,  without  loss  of  time,  to  Mr.  Scribner, 
proposing  he  should  publish  it.  He  demurred  a  little,  saying 
he  would  gladly  do  so  if  the  translation  were  ready,  but  that 
the  war  would  be  over  before  the  book  was  out,  Mr .  Sew- 
ard  having  authoritatively  limited  its  duration  to  a  small 
number  not  of  weeks  but  of  days.  Mr.  Scribner  finally  said, 
perhaps  but  half  believing  in  the  possibility,  that  if  it  could 
be  ready  in  a  week  he  would  publish  it.  "  It  shall  be  done," 
was  her  reply,  and  she  went  home  and  went  to  work,  work- 
ing twenty  hours  of  every  twenty-four,  receiving  the  proof- 
sheets  at  night  and  returning  them  with  fresh  copy  in  the 
morning.  The  week  lacked  several  hours  of  its  completion 
when  the  work  was  finished,  and  in  a  fortnight  the  book  was 
out,  and  its  message  rang  from  Maine  to  California. 

Nothing  published  during  the  war  made  half  the  sensation 
that  did  this  prophetic  volume,  whose  predictions  were  so 
wonderfully  accurate  that  very  few  of  them  were  found  to 
have  proved  false  at  the  end  of  the  dark  contest,  dark  not 
only  because  beginning  to  be  so  doubtful,  and  laden  with  sor- 


128  MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH. 

row,  and  suffering,  and  loss,  but  because,  although  the  North 
shone  in  the  light  of  a  glorious  resolve,  and  the  South  con- 
tended for  principle,  the  struggle  was  still  one  between  broth- 
ers. The  newspapers  of  the  day  were  full  of  reviews  and 
notices,  eulogistic  and  otherwise,  according  to  the  party  repre- 
sented. The  book  revived  courage  and  rekindled  hope.  "  It 
is  worth  a  whole  phalanx  in  the  cause  of  human  freedom," 
wrote  Charles  Sumner ;  and  Abraham  Lincoln  paused  in  the 
midst  of  his  mighty  work  to  send  her  a  letter  of  thanks  and 
lofty  cheer. 

The  publication  of  the  book  was  the  means  of  putting  Miss 
Booth  at  once  into  communication  with  the  author  and  his 
wife,  who  begged  her  to  visit  them  in  Switzerland ;  and  it 
subsequently  brought  about  a  correspondence  with  most  of 
those  European  sympathizers  with  the  North  who  handled  a 
pen,  such  as  Augustin  Cochin,  Edouard  Laboulaye,  Henri 
Martin,  Edmond  de  Pressense,  Conte  du  Montalembert, 
Monseigneur  Dupanloup,  and  others,  —  men  of  all  shades  of 
religious  and  political  belief  at  home,  but  united  in  the  hatred 
of  slavery,  and  in  sympathy  for  the  cause  in  whose  success 
its  extinction  was  involved. 

These  gentlemen  vied  with  each  other  in  sending  her 
advance-sheets  of  their  books,  and  numerous  articles,  letters, 
and  pamphlets  to  meet  the  question  of  the  day,  which  she 
swiftly  translated,  publishing  them  without  money  and  with- 
out price,  in  the  daily  journals,  and  through  the  avenues 
afforded  by  the  Union  League  Club.  In  return,  she  kept  these 
noble  Frenchmen  accurately  informed  of  the  progress  of  events, 
and  sent  them  such  publications  as  could  be  of  service. 

The  «  Uprising  of  a  Great  People  "  was  followed  rapidly  by 
Gasparin's  "America  Before  Europe,"  by  Laboulaye's  "  Paris 
in  America,"  and  two  volumes  by  Augustin  Cochin,  "  Results 
of  Emancipation  "  and  "  Results  of  Slavery."  Cochin's  work 
attracted  even  more  attention  than  Gasparin's  had  done.  She 
received  hundreds  of  appreciative  letters  from  the  leading 
Republican  statesman  —  Henry  Winter  Davis,  Senator  Doo- 
little,  Galusha  A.  Grow,  Dr.  Lieber,  Dr.  Bell,  the  president 


MAKY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  129 

of  the  Sanitary  Commission,  and  a  host  of  others,  among 
them  George  Simmer,  Cassius  M.  Clay,  and  Attorney-Gen- 
eral Speed,  Charles  Sumner  writing  her  that  Cochin's  work 
had  been  of  more  value  to  the  cause  "  than  the  Numidian 
cavalry  to  Hannibal." 

It  will  easily  be  seen  from  this  brief  and  condensed  recital 
how  important  was  Miss  Booth's  share  in  the  great  national 
work,  a  share  in  firing  and  sustaining  the  public  heart  second 
only  to  that  of  Mrs.  Stowe's,  before  the  war,  when  "Uncle 
Tom's  Cabin''  went  through  the  land  like  the  Fiery  Cross 
that,  seared  in  fire  and  dipped  in  blood,  flashed  from  hand  to 
hand  for  the  rousing  of  the  clans.  "As  I  went  over  some  of 
those  letters  last  night,"  she  wrote  once,  concerning  this 
"Sturm  and  Drang"  period  of  her  life,  "  it  was  like  opening 
the  grave  of  the  past.  My  present  life  seemed  thin  and 
frivolous  compared  with  those  glowing  hours  so  full  of  earn- 
est work,  in  which  the  fate  of  a  nation  was  involved ;  and  I 
could  not  sleep  for  thinking  of  the  days  that  are  no  more." 

In  the  meantime  she  pursued  her  translations  as  before, 
adding  to  her  list  Laboulaye's  "  Fairy  Tales,"  and  Jean 
Mace's  "  Fairy  Book,"  and  several  of  the  religious  works  of 
the  Count  and  Countess  do  Gasparin,  "Happiness"  by  the 
former,  and  "  Camille,"  "  Vesper,"  and  "  Human  Sorrows  "  by 
the  latter.  Her  translations  in  all  number  nearly  forty  vol- 
umes. She  had  thought  of  adding  to  this  number,  at  the 
request  of  Mr.  James  T.  Fields,  an  abridgment  of  Madame 
Sand's  voluminous  " Histoire  de  ma  Vie"  and,  with  her 
customary  delicacy,  not  liking  to  undertake  a  task  of  that 
nature  without  permission,  she  wrote  the  author,  giving  her 
proposed  plan,  and  receiving  the  following  reply  :  — 

"MADAME,  —  Jfai  ete  absente  de  chez  moi,  et  je  recois  vos  deux 
lettres  a  la  fois.  Yotre  maniere  a  dire  et  de  penser,  et  la  delica- 
tesse  de  vos  scrupules,  me  donnent  une  confiance  entiere  dans 
Votre  discernement  et  dans  votre  conscience.  Je  vous  autorise 
done  &  faire  les  coupures  que  vous  jugiez  ne"cessaires,  et  vous  prie 
de  me  croire  toute  a  vous,  GEORGE  SAND. 

Nohant,  22  Mai,  '63, 
Par  la  Chatre,  Indre. 


130  MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH. 

Circumstances,  however,  prevented  the  completion  of  the 
work. 

Her  pleasant  correspondence  with  people  of  interest  still 
continued,  and,  among  others,  with  Mr.  Suinner,  passages 
from  which  I  have  begged,  and  with  difficulty  obtained  per- 
mission to  transcribe  for  the  sake  of  their  value  to  those  who 
love  his  name. 

"  I  cannot  express  to  you  all  the  gratitude  I  feel  for  your 
kindness  to  the  memory  of  my  late  brother.  His  death  was  a 
release  to  him,  but  it  has  been  a  trial  to  us.  It  leaves  me  more 
than  ever  alone."  Afterwards,  acknowledging  a  message,  he 
says,  "  I  am  touched  and  gratified  by  those  beautiful  words 
of  Madame  de  Gasparin.  When  you  write  to  her,  be  good 
enough  to  let  her  know  how  constantly  my  brother  cherished 
the  recollection  of  his  visit  to  her  family,  and  that  he  often 
went  over  its  incidents.  I  had  not  the  good  fortune  of  know- 
ing personally  any  of  this  remarkable  family,  but  I  am  familiar 
with  their  history  and  with  their  labors.  Madame  de  Gasparin 
is  not  the  least  remarkable  of  this  distinguished  connection." 

o 

Still  later  he  writes  her  in  touching  words  that  seem  to  cry 
for  the  rest  that  never  came,  "  It  is  hard  to  contend  always. 
I  long  for  repose.  But  there  is  no  rest  for  me  so  long  as  the 
freedmen  are  denied  their  rights,  and  the  only  chance  of 
placing  them  beyond  assault  is  through  the  national  gov- 
ernment." 

Miss  Booth  did  not  cease  her  labors  after  her  work  in  con- 
nection with  the  war  was  over,  but  at  once  began  the  trans- 
lation of  Henri  Martin's  "Unabridged  History  of  France," 
six  of  whose  volumes  she  translated.  Since  then,  in  connection 
with  Miss  Alger,  she  has  translated  Martin's  abridgement  of 
the  "History  of  France,"  in  six  volumes, 'now  in  course  of 
publication.  She  has  been  in  friendly  communication  with 
most  of  the  authors  to  whose  writings  she  has  turned  her 
attention,  and  all  without  exception  have  taken  warm  interest 
in  her  work,  and  commended  it  in  flattering  terms. 

In  the  year  1867  Miss  Booth  undertook  another  enter- 
prise of  an  entirely  opposite  but  no  less  important  nature, 


MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  131 

in  assuming  the  management  of  "  Harper's  Bazar,"  a  weekly 
journal  devoted  to  the  pleasure  and  improvement  of  the 
domestic  circle.  She  had  long  been  in  pleasant  relations 
with  the  Messrs.  Harper,  the  four  brothers  who  founded  the 
great  house  which  bears  their  name,  and  who  conducted 
its  business  to  such  splendid  results  ;  and  when  they  resolved 
upon  issuing  a  family  newspaper  of  this  description  they 
immediately  asked  her  to  take  its  editorial  control. 

Diffident  concerning  her  abilities  in  this  untried  direc- 
tion, she  accepted  with  hesitation.  But  the  correctness  of 
their  judgment  was  soon  displayed ;  for  under  her  editorial 
management  it  proved  the  swiftest  journalistic  success  on 
record,  numbering  its  subscribers  by  the  hundred  thousand, 
and  while  other  papers  take  a  loss  for  granted  in  the  begin- 
ning, putting  itself  upon  a  paying  basis  at  the  outset.  While 
she  has  assistants  in  every  department,  among  their  names 
those  of  some  most  distinguished  in  our  literature,  she  is  her- 
self the  inspiration  of  the  whole  corps,  and  under  the  advice 
and  suggestion  of  its  proprietors  she  has  held  it  on  an  even 
course,  whatever  winds  of  doctrine  blew  outside.  There  is 
scarcely  a  poet,  or  a  story-writer,  or  novelist  of  any  rank  in 
America  or  England  who  is  not  a  contributor  to  its  pages, 
and  its  purity,  its  self-respect,  its  high  standard,  and  its  lite- 
rary excellence,  are  unrivalled  among  periodical  publications. 
The  influence  of  such  a  paper  within  American  homes  is 
something  hardly  to  be  computed.  It  has  always  been  on 
the  side  of  good  and  sweet  things  ;  it  has  made  the  right 
seem  the  best  and  pleasantest ;  it  has  taught  while  it  has 
amused ;  it  has  had  the  happiness,  well-being,  and  virtue  of 
women  and  the  family  for  its  first  consideration,  and  it  has 
created  a  wholesome  atmosphere  wherever  it  is  constantly 
read.  Through  its  columns  its  editor  has  made  her  hand  felt 

o 

in  countless  families  for  nearly  sixteen  years,  and  has  helped 
to  shape  the  domestic  ends  of  a  generation  to  peace  and 
righteousness. 

Perhaps  Miss  Booth  could  not  have  accomplished  so  much 
if  she  had  been  hampered,  as  many  women  are,  by  conditions 


132  MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH. 

demanding  exertion  in  other  than  her  chosen  path,  and  with- 
out the  comfort  about  her  of  a  perfect  home.  She  lives 
in  the  city  of  New  York,  in  the  neighborhood  of  Central 
Park,  in  a  house  which  she  owns,  with  her  sister  by  adopt- 
ion, Mrs.  Anne  W.  Wright,  between  whom  and  herself  there 
exists  one  of  those  lifelong  and  tender  affections  which  are 
too  intimate  and  delicate  for  public  mention,  but  which  are 
among  the  friendships  of  history,  —  a  friendship  that  was 
begun  in  childhood  and  that  cannot  cease  in  death.  To  Mrs. 
Wright,  more  than  to  any  other  woman  I  have  known,  do 
Wordsworth's  lines  apply  :  — 

"  A  countenance  in  which  did  meet 
Sweet  records,  promises  as  sweet. 

The  reason  firm,  the  temperate  will, 
Endurance,  foresight,  strength,  and  skill, 
A  perfect  woman,  nobly  planned, 
To  warn,  to  comfort,  and  command." 

Their  house  is  one  particularly  adapted  to  entertaining, 
with  its  light  and  lovely  parlors  and  connecting  rooms ;  there 
are  always  guests  within  its  hospitable  walls,  and  if  there  is 
such  a  thing  in  this  country  as  a  salon,  it  is  to  be  found  here, 
where  every  Saturday  night  may  be  met  an  assemblage  of  the 
beauty  and  wit  and  wisdom,  resident  or  transient,  in  the  city  — 
authors  of  note,  great  singers,  players,  musicians,  statesmen, 
travellers,  publishers,  journalists,  and  pretty  women,  making 
the  time  fly  on  wings  of  enchantment.  A  few  years  ago 
these  friends  of  the  house  took  the  occasion  of  a  birthday  to 
present  Miss  Booth  with  a  magnificent  album  full  of  portraits 
and  autographs  of  great  value. 

Miss  Booth  is  a  person  who  has  been  singularly  blest 
with  steadfast  friends ;  one  has  only  to  look  at  the  benig- 
nancy  of  her  habitual  expression  to  see  the  reason  why. 
She  forgets  herself  in  serving  others,  and  is  happy  in  their 
happiness.  Exquisitely  sensitive  herself,  sympathetic  and 
delicate,  she  is  further  characterized  by  a  lofty  nobility  and 
honor.  Many-sided  as  a  faceted  jewel,  to  the  man  of  busi  - 


MARY  LOUISE  BOOTH.  133 

ness  she  is  merely  a  woman  of  business  ;  but  to  the  poet  she 
is  full  of  answering  vibrations.  She  values  beauty  in  every 
form,  betraying  the  fact  in  a  deep  and  intelligent  love  of 
nature,  in  a  passion  for  flowers,  gems,  and  perfumes,  and  in 
an  intense  delight  and  thorough  knowledge  of  music.  Warm 
in  her  affections,  quick  in  her  feelings,  cool  in  her  judg- 
ments, untiring  in  her  energies,  imperious  in  her  will,  and 
almost  timid  in  her  self-distrust  in  spite  of  her  achievement, 
her  character  is  a  singular  combination  of  the  strength  on 
which  you  can  rely,  and  the  tenderness  you  would  protect, 
while  there  is  a  certain  bounteousness  of  nature  about  her, 
like  the  overflowing  sweetness  and  spice  of  a  full-blown  rose. 
All  these  qualities  are  held  within  bounds  by  a  shy  and  suf- 
fering modesty  that  will  make  it  impossible  for  her  to  read 
these  words  ! 

In  person  Miss  Booth  is  majestic  and  commanding,  being 
taller  and  larger  than  women  usually  are.  Her  dress  is  sim- 
ple to  plainness  when  about  her  business,  but  rich  and  becom- 
ing otherwhere,  for  she  has  the  weakness  of  other  women 
about  rare  old  lace,  and  cashmeres  that  are  drawn  through  a 
bracelet.  Her  hands  are  as  perfect  as  sculpture,  and  sparkle 
with  quaint  and  costly  rings ;  and  her  skin  of  infantile  deli- 
cacy and  rose-leaf  color,  her  dimples,  her  straight,  short  nose, 
her  soft  brown  eyes,  and  her  prematurely  silvered  hair,  worn 
rolled  over  cushions,  give  her  a  striking  appearance  that 
approaches  beauty. 

But  there  is  a  beauty  of  the  soul  more  precious  than  any 
other ;  it  shines  in  the  purity  of  the  countenance,  in  the  quiet 
independence,  of  movement,  in  the  sincerhVy  and  straightfor- 
wardness of  utterance,  in  the  care  and  concern  for  others, 
and  in  the  glance  that  seeks  their  sympathy ;  and  this  beauty 
is  still  more  pre-eminently  hers.  Strong  for  troublous  times 
and  sweet  for  gentle  ones,  she  is  one  woman  in  a  myriad,  and 
the  world  is  better  because  she  has  lived  in  it. 
9 


'  CHAPTER  VI. 
THE    DOCTOKS    BLACKWELL. 

BY  LUCIA  GILBERT  RUNKLE. 

Early  Home  of  the  Blackwell  Sisters  — "Little  Shy  "  —  Her  Indomitable 
Pluck  and  Wonderful  Physique  —  A  Feat  Showing  Her  Strength  — Death 
of  Her  Father  —  Struggle  of  the  Family  with  Misfortune  and  Poverty  — 
Elizabeth  Begins  the  Study  of  Medicine  —  How  She  Acquired  Her  Profes- 
sional Education  —  Surmounting  Great  Difficulties  —  Some  of  Her  Experi- 
ences as  a  Medical  Student — Graduates  with  High  Honor  —  First  Medical 
Diploma  Ever  Granted  to  a  Woman  —  A  Proud  Moment  in  Her  Life  — 
Her  Sister,  Emily  Blackwell  —  Her  College  Life  — Battling  Against  Oppo- 
sition —  Final  Success —  Her  Studies  Abroad  —  The  Two  Sisters  establish 
Themselves  in  Practice  in  New  York  —  Founding  the  Women's  Hospital 
and  College  —  Recognition  and  Success  at  Last. 

ARDINAL  MAZARIN  said  to  Don  Luis  de  Haro, 
at  the  time  of  the  Peace  of  the  Pyrenees : 
"  How  lucky  you  are,  in  Spain  !  There,  women 
are  satisfied  with  being  coquettish  or  devout; 
they  obey  their  lover  or  their  confessor,  and 
interfere  with  nothing  else."  His  eminence 
held,  in  common  with  the  public  opinion  of  his 
time,  that  the  political  and  social  troubles  of  less 
well-regulated  countries  proceeded  from  the  failure 
of  the  meddlesome  sex  to  mind  its  own  business. 
But  as  women  came  more  frequently  to  be  heard  upon  the 
subject,  it  appeared  that  a  respectable  minority  disagreed 
with  the  majority  as  to  the  nature  and  limits  of  that  business. 
Presently  a  clear-eyed  woman  wrote :  "  History  jeers  at 
the  attempts  of  physiologists  to  bind  great  original  laws  by 
the  forms  which  flow  from  them.  They  make  a  rule  :  they 
say,  from  observation,  what  can  and  cannot  be.  In  vain  ! 
Nature  provides  exceptions  to  every  rule.  She  sends  women 
to  battle,  and  sets  Hercules  spinning;  she  enables  women  to 
bear  immense  burdens,  cold,  and  frost ;  she  enables  the  man, 

134 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  135 

who  feels  maternal  love,  to  nourish  his  infant  like  a  mother. 
.  .  .  Presently  she  will  make  a  female  Newton,  and  a  male 
siren.  .  .  .  But  if  you  ask  me  what  offices  they  may  fill,  I 
reply  —  any.  I  do  not  care  what  case  you  put ;  let  them  be 
sea-captains,  if  you  will.  I  do  not  doubt  there  are  women 
well-fitted  for  such  an  office,  and  if  so,  I  should  be  as  glad 
to  see  them  in  it  as  to  welcome  the  Maid  of  Saragossa,  or 
the  Maid  of  Missolonghi,  or  the  Suliote  heroine,  or  Countess 
Colonel  Emily  Plater." 

The  female  Newton  is  yet  to  come,  but  in  tjie  very  year 
that  saw  the  publication  of  Margaret  Fuller's  brave  plea  for 
her  sex,  a  young  woman  in  the  West,  alone,  unaided,  and 
poor,  began  those  studies  which  have  made  her  name  eminent 
in  medical  science,  and  freed  a  new  domain  of  labor  to  the 
occupation  of  women.  That  America,  however  grudgingly, 
afforded  Elizabeth  Blackwell,  and,  afterward,  her  sister, 
Emily,  that  opportunity  for  professional  instruction  and  prac- 
tice which  their  native  England  withheld,  constitutes  her 
claim  to  reckon  them  among  her  noble  women. 

Their  father,  Mr.  Samuel  Blackwell,  a  rich  sugar-refiner  of 
Bristol,  was  a  man  of  singular  high-mindedness,  catholicity, 
energy,  honesty,  and  benevolence.  Their  home  offered  a 
fruitful  soil  for  virtues  to  take  root  in,  which  throve  the  better, 
as  it  seemed,  for  the  overrunning  tangle  of  innocent  wild- 
oats  that  grew  up  with  them.  Winters  were  given  to  hard 
work  in  the  school-room,  summers  to  equally  hard  play  at 
the  seaside.  Long  walks  in  all  weathers  kept  heads  clear 
and  complexions  bright.  The  wise  mother  was  not  frightened 
at  the  name  of  torn-boy,  nor  disturbed  by  the  cheerful  din  of 
the  host  of  children  who  "  rampaged "  through  the  passages 
between  lesson-hours.  Birthdays,  which  seemed  to  have  a 
jovial  trick  of  recurring  oftener  than  in  other  families  of  like 
spaciousness,  were  celebrated  with  a  frenzy  of  affectionate 
zeal.  Holidays  brought  "  sport  that  wrinkled  care  derides, 
and  laughter  holding  both  his  sides." 

The  sunshine  and  fresh  air  of  this  hearty,  sensible,  hilarious 
household  developed  a  sturdy  growth  of  juvenile  character. 


136  THE  DOCTORS  BLACK  WELL. 

| 

Elizabeth,  the  third  daughter,  was  a  tiny  creature,  fair,  with 
blonde  hair,  beautiful  hands,  and  a  voice  of  extraordinary 
sweetness.  As  a  child,  she  was  so  unusually  reserved  and 
silent  that  her  father,  to  whom  she  was  devoted,  nicknamed 
her  tf  Little  Shy."  But  this  singularly  delicate  and  shrinking 
exterior  hid  a  tenacity  of  purpose  and  muscular  strength 
almost  incredible. 

An  elder  sister  relates  that  before  the  little  maid  was  five 
years  old,  her  father  was  once  obliged  to  go  to  Dublin  on 
business.  This  necessity  was  made  the  occasion  of  a  frolic 
for  the  children,  who  went  in  force  to  the  Hotwells  to  see  him 
off.  Elizabeth,  bent  on  being  useful,  persisted  in  holding  his 
heavy  portmanteau  in  her  lap  all  the  way  to  the  anchorage. 
As  the  steamer  swung  off  and  moved  slowly  down  the  river, 
the  children  ran  along  the  bank,  shouting  their  good-bys. 
But  when  the  rest  were  ready  to  turn  homeward,  "  Little  Shy  " 
only  quickened  her  pace.  She  had  made  up  her  small  mind 
that  since  she  was  forbidden  to  accompany  her  father,  as  she 
had  entreated,  she  would  make  the  journey  on  foot,  and  rejoin 
him  in  Ireland  !  Coaxing  and  remonstrance  were  vain.  The 
tiny  pilgrim,  bound  on  her  filial  errand,  had  already  the  con- 
stancy of  a  devotee.  At  last  it  was  made  plain  to  her  that 
her  father  had  taken  the  ship  because  it  was  impossible  to 
reach  Ireland  by  land,  and  that  should  she  walk  to  Holy- 
head  she  must  there  be  turned  back  by  the  Channel.  Even 
her  indomitable  little  spirit  saw  the  futility  of  contending  with 
the  natural  divisions  of  the  earth,  however  arbitrary  and 
senseless  they  might  appear  to  her,  and  she  turned  home- 
ward with  injured  and  resentful  countenance,  too  indignant 
with  Circumstance  to  utter  a  word. 

In  earliest  girlhood  she  read  Foster's  "Essay  on  Decision 
of  Character"  which  became  an  inspiration  to  her.  All  her 
ideals  were  heroic,  —  Elizabeth,  the  huntress  Diana,  the 
Valkyries,  with  their  lofty  self-dependence  and  undaunted 
courage,  Boadicea,  Lady  Russell,  Madame  Roland.  She 
herself  had  the  perfect  physique  of  the  mythical  maids  of 
Valhalla.  Her  muscles  were  corded  steel,  her  delicate  hands 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  137 

had  a  grip  of  iron.  She  would  pick  up  the  other  children 
and  carry  them  about  the  house,  till,  tired  out  with  laughter 
and  struggling,  they  consented  to  her  terms  of  release. 
While  still  in  the  school-room  her  feats  of  strength  were 
astonishing. 

It  is  related  of  her  that  she  once  used  the  argwnentum  ad 
hominem  in  a  peculiarly  convincing  way.  Some  intimate 
friends  having  called  one  evening  at  her  father's  house,  the 
conversation  happened  to  turn  on  the  feeble  muscular  develop- 
ment of  women.  A  certain  gentleman  maintained  that  the 
weakest  man,  putting  forth  his  full  strength,  could  overcome 
the  strongest  woman. 

"  But  that  must  be  a  mistake,"  declared  her  brother,  "  for 
when  Elizabeth  chooses  she  is  more  than  a  match  for  the 
best  of  us  at  wrestling  or  at  lifting,  and  carries  us  about  as 
she  likes." 

"  She  could  not  lift  me!  No  woman  living  could  lift  me  !  " 
exclaimed  the  champion  of  his  sex.  "Try  it,  Miss  Eliza- 
beth," he  continued,  settling  himself  for  resistance  ;  "do  your 
utmost !  I  defy  you  to  move  me  out  of  this  chair." 

Deliberately  the  new  Brunhilda  approached,  deliberately 
lifted  the  scoffer,  deliberately  settled  him  on  her  left  arm, 
and  holding  him  firmly  with  the  other,  despite  his  desperate 
struggles  to  escape,  bore  him  three  times  round  the  room, 
with  the  slow  stateliness  of  a  triumphal  march. 

Commercial  disorders  following  on  the  political  crisis  of 
1830-31  crippled  the  prosperous  house  of  Blackwell,  whose 
head  resolved  to  emigrate  with  his  family  to  the  United 
States,  where  the  sugar  business  was  then  lucrative.  In 
August,  1832,  the  new  settlers  landed  in  New  York.  A 
sugar-refinery  was  soon  established,  which  was  immediately 
prosperous.  But  the  financial  ruin  of  1837  spared  no  in- 
dustry. Though  avoiding  personal  bankruptcy,  Mr.  Black- 
well  found  his  fortune  again  swept  away  by  the  failure  of 
weaker  houses.  But  he  was  a  man  incapable  of  defeat. 
Even  then  he  saw  the  great  opportunities  which  the  widening 
West  offered,  and  in  1838  removed  with  his  family  to 


138  THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL. 

Cincinnati.  The  summer  proved  hot  and  pestilential.  His 
health,  already  impaired  by  anxiety  and  the  severe  strain  of 
the  American  climate,  gave  way  under  the  change  from  sea 
air  to  the  humid  heats  of  a  Western  river-town.  While 
working  with  characteristic  energy  to  establish  a  new  sugar- 
refinery,  he  was  smitten  by  fever,  and  died,  after  a  brief 
illness,  at  the  early  age  of  forty-five. 

In  a  strange  city  the  family  now  found  themselves  penni- 
less and  unknown.  The  wreck  of  their  fortune  had  been  in- 
vested in  the  new  business.  Debts  due  the  estate  were 
disregarded.  .  An  agent  in  New  York  sold  the  valuable  house- 
hold furniture  which  had  been  left  in  his  charge,  and  kept  the 
proceeds.  Rent  was  owing  on  the  house  they  occupied  and 
on  the  business  premises.  Protested  notes  were  to  be  paid. 
Doctors'  and  undertakers'  bills  demanded  settlement,  two 
more  deaths  having  occurred  in  the  family  during  that  terrible 
autumn.  Every  day  brought  its  tale  of  expenses,  however 
narrowly  the  schedule  of  necessities  was  made  up.  But  the 
scrupulous  honesty  of  the  father  was  a  characteristic  of  the 
rest.  No  one  dreamed  of  evading  one  just  claim  upon  his 
name,  and  in  the  end  every  penny  of  indebtedness  was  paid. 

The  three  elder  daughters,  of  whom  Dr.  Elizabeth,  just 
seventeen  years  old,  was  the  third,  at  once  assumed  the  sup- 
port of  the  younger  children  and  their  mother.  With  ready 
self-denial  the  two  boys,  next  in  age,  left  their  studies  to 
take  clerkships.  Four  little  ones,  of  whom  Dr.  Emily 
was  the  eldest,  were  still  in  the  nursery.  But  one  way  of 
support  offered  itself  to  these  needy  gentlewomen,  and  the 
Misses  Blackwell  opened  a  boarding-school  for  young  ladies. 
They  were  thoroughly  and  liberally  educated.  They  were 
full  of  the  family  courage  and  energy.  Respect  for  their 
abilities  and  interest  in  their  misfortunes  soon  filled  the 
school. 

The  assurance  that  the  family  could  be  kept  together,  and 
the  younger  children  educated,  was  worth  almost  any  cost  to 
these  devoted  sisters.  But  the  old  household  ways  had  been 
those  of  comfortable  ease  and  rare  good-fellowship.  The  toil, 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  139 

confinement,  and  incessant  responsibilit}1"  of  a  boarding-school ; 
the  inevitable  formality  and  rigidity  of  the  daily  routine ; 
more  than  all,  the  irksome  need  of  a  thrift  approaching  parsi- 
mony, weighed  heavily  on  young  shoulders  hitherto  exempt 
from  burdens.  Pay  was  small,  compared  with  the  endless 
labor  and  self-denial  of  the  work.  The  fact  that  they  were 
shut  in  to  this  one  weary  way  of  bread-winning  was,  in  itself, 
harassing.  A  sort  of  gentle  Jacobin  club  grew  up  among 
them,  whose  entire  membership  they  constituted,  and  at 
whose  irregular  meetings,  in  the  insecure  privacy  of  their  bed- 
rooms, they  arraigned  society  for  its  unfairness  to  their  sex. 
Had  they  been  men,  or,  being  women,  had  they  received  a 
thorough  business  and  professional  training,  they  saw  how 
much  easier  and  more  honorable  their  struggle  for  existence 
would  have  been.  Each  year  deepened  their  conviction  that 
an  enlargement  of  woman's  opportunities  was  the  necessary 
condition  of  a  higher  social  well-being.  But  hard  necessity 
kept  them  to  their  familiar  treadmill.  By  night  they  might 
plan  new  achievements  and  rewards  for  their  sex.  By  day 
they  must  conjugate  French  verbs,  listen  to  blundering 
scales,  or  vainly  strive  to  impose  habits  of  conscientious 
study  on  the  spoiled  young  tyrants  of  the  class-room. 

Six  years  of  this  patient  grind  placed  the  younger  children 
in  self-supporting  positions,  and  the  school  was  given  up. 
Already  Elizabeth  had  resolved  to  devote  her  future  to  the 
science  of  medicine.  Shrinking  with  the  strong  instinct  of 
perfect  health  from  all  contact  with  disease,  loathing  the 
atmosphere  of  the  sick-room,  and  naturally  intolerant  of  the 
moral  weakness  of  invalidism,  she  yet  believed  women  to  be 
specially  fitted  by  nature  for  the  medical  profession.  Of  the 
many  fields  of  honorable  labor  then  closed  against  them  it 
seemed  to  her  that  this  might  most  easily  be  won.  And  she 
saw  clearly  that  if  prejudice  could  be  made  to  yield  a  single 
outpost,  the  taking  of  the  citadel  was  but  a  question  of  time. 
Examples  were  not  wanting  of  women  who  had  enriched 
medical  science.  She  remembered  Marie  Catherine  Biheron, 
the  Paris  apothecary's  little  daughter,  who,  working  eagerly 


140  THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL. 

over  dead  bodies,  by  night,  in  her  attic  chamber,  perfected 
the  common  manikin,  and  was  the  first  to  unfold,  by  the  aid 
of  prepared  wax,  the  inner  mysteries  of  the  human  frame. 
She  remembered  Elizabeth  Nihell,  contending  with  calm  good 
sense  and  steady  judgment  against  the  obstetrical  quackeries 
of  the  fashionable  London  doctors  of  the  last  age.  She  re- 
membered that  noble  Elizabeth  Blackwell  of  the  eighteenth 

o 

century,  Scotch  and  sturdy,  who,  studying  midwifery  to  sup- 
port her  sick  husband,  himself  a  physician  of  repute,  found 
her  means  of  livelihood  taken  away  by  the  trades'-union  of 
the  faculty,  and  turned  to  the  preparation  of  the  first  medical 
botany.  She  remembered  the  nurses  and  healers  of  the 
middle  ages,  a  great  cloud  of  witnesses  to  the  fitness  of 
women  for  the  profession  of  her  choice.  The  very  need  of 
conquering  her  personal  dislike  of  the  task  she  had  set  herself 
whetted  her  courage.  But  that  task  was  herculean,  and  the 
money  required  was  yet  to  be  earned. 

In  1844  she  took  charge  of  a  large  country  school  in  Ken- 
tucky, hoarding  every  penny  of  pay  for  professional  uses,  and 
every  moment  of  leisure  for  professional  studies.  The  next 
year  a  higher  salary  was  offered  her  as  music  teacher  in  a 
fashionable  boarding-school  at  Charleston,  South  Carolina. 
There,  while  working  hard  at  medicine,  she  began  the  study 
of  Latin,  being  already  a  good  French  and  German  scholar. 
There,  too,  it  was  her  good  fortune  to  meet  the  distinguished 
Doctor  Samuel  Henry  Dickson,  who  took  a  generous  interest 
in  her  plans,  admitted  her  among  his  office  students,  and  gave 
her  invaluable  help  and  encouragement. 

In  May,  1847,  after  three  years  of  indefatigable  prepara- 
tion, she  sought  admission  to  the  Philadelphia  Medical 
School.  The  physicians  in  charge,  without  exception,  re- 
jected her,  professing  to  be  shocked  at  the  indelicacy  of  her 
application.  College  and  hospital  were  closed  against  her, 
and  she  was  forced  to  take  private  courses  of  anatomy  and 
dissection  with  one  physician,  and  of  midwifery  with  another. 
But  however  able  the  teacher  or  zealous  the  pupil,  no  private 
certificate  of  capacity  could  equal  the  guarantee  of  a  diploma. 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  141 

And  Miss  Blackwell  was  not  more  anxious  to  obtain  a 
thorough  training  for  herself  than  to  make  straight  the  path 
for  other  women  who  should  follow  her.  Besides,  there 
already  flourished  a  guild  of  ignorant  or  half-educated  female 
doctors,  whose  code  was  immoral,  and  whose  practice  was  em- 
pirical. It  was  plain  that  only  qualified  women,  bearing  the 
diploma  of  a  reputable  college,  could  bar  out  these  pretenders 
from  practice,  or  hinder  their  misuse  of  the  professional  name. 

The  young  student's  next  step  was  to  obtain  a  list  of  all  the 
medical  schools  of  the  country,  and  send  her  dignified  appli- 
cation to  each  in  turn.  Twelve  of  these  institutions  promptly 
rejected  her,  most  of  them  rebuking  either  her  immodest 
desire  to  understand  the  laws  of  physical  nature,  or  her  pre- 
sumptuous invasion  of  those  high  intellectual  regions  habitable 
only  by  man.  Only  the  faculties  of  the  college  at  Geneva, 
New  York,  and  of  that  at  Castleton,  Vermont,  courteously 
consented  to  consider  her  application.  At  Geneva,  the  ques- 
tion of  her  admission  was  referred  to  the  students  themselves, 
These  young  men,  to  their  honor  be  it  said,  unanimously 
decided  in  her  favor,  and  voluntarily  pledged  themselves 
"  individually  and  collectively,"  that,  should  she  enter  the 
college,  "no  word  or  act  of  theirs  should  ever  cause  her  to 
regret  the  step." 

In  November,  1847,  she  was  entered  on  the  college  register 
as  "No.  417,"  and  saw  herself  at  the  beginning  of  the  end. 
In  a  brief  monograph  published  twenty-five  years  ago,  to 
which  this  sketch  is  much  indebted,  Miss  Anna  Blackwell 
says  :  "  Aware  that  the  possibility  of  her  going  through  the 
course  depended  on  her  being  able,  by  her  unmoved  deport- 
ment, to  cause  her  presence  there  to  be  regarded  by  those 
around  her,  not  as  that  of  a  woman  among  men,  but  of  one 
student  among  five  hundred,  confronted  only  with  the  truth 
and  dignity  of  natural  law,  she  restricted  herself  for  some  time 
after  her  entrance  into  the  college  to  a  diet  so  rigid  as  almost 
to  trench  upon  starvation,  in  order  that  no  involuntary  change 
of  color  might  betray  the  feeling  of  embarrassment  occa- 
sionally created  by  the  necessary  plain-speaking  of  scientific 


142  THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL. 

analysis.  How  far  the  attainment  of  a  self-command  which 
rendered  her  countenance  as  impassible  as  that  of  a  statue 
can  be  attributed  to  the  effect  of  such  a  diet  may  be  doubtful ; 
but  her  adoption  of  such  an  expedient  is  too  characteristic  to 
be  omitted  here. 

"  From  her  admission  into  the  college  until  she  left  it  she 
also  made  it  an  invariable  rule  to  pass  in  and  out  without 
taking  any  notice  of  the  students  ;  going  straight  to  her  seat, 
and  never  looking  in  any  other  direction  than  to  the  professor 
and  on  her  note-book.  How  necessary  was  this  circumspection 
may  be  inferred  from  something  which  occurred  in  the  lecture- 
room  a  short  time  after  her  admission.  The  subject  of  the 
lecture  happened  to  be  a  very  trying  one ;  and  while  the 
lecturer  was  proceeding  with  his  demonstration,  a  folded 
paper,  evidently  a  note,  was  thrown  down  by  some  one  in 
one  of  the  upper  tiers  behind  her,  and  fell  upon  her  arm, 
where  it  lay,  conspicuously  white,  upon  the  sleeve  of  her 
black  dress.  She  felt,  instinctively,  that  this  note  contained 
some  gross  impertinence,  that  every  eye  in  the  building  was 
upon  her ;  and  that,  if  she  meant  to  remain  in  the  college,  she 
must  repel  the  insult,  then  and  there,  in  such  a  way  as  to 
preclude  the  occurrence  of  any  similar  act.  Without  mov- 
ing or  raising  her  eyes  from  her  note-book,  she  continued  to 
write,  as  though  she  had  not  perceived  the  paper ;  and  when 
she  had  finished  her  notes  she  slowly  lifted  the  arm  on  which 
it  lay,  until  she  had  brought  it  clearly  within  view  of  every 
one  in  the  building,  and  then,  with  the  slightest  possible  turn 
of  the  wrist,  she  caused  the  offensive  missile  to  drop  upon 
the  floor.  Her  action,  at  once  a  protest  and  an  appeal,  was 
perfectly  understood  by  the  students ;  and  in  an  instant  the 
amphitheatre  rang  with  their  energetic  applause,  mingled 
with  hisses  directed  against  her  cowardly  assailant.  Through- 
out this  scene  she  kept  her  eyes  constantly  fixed  upon  her 
note-book ;  taking  no  more  apparent  notice  of  this  welcome 
demonstration  than  she  had  done  of  the  unwelcome  aggression 
which  had  called  it  forth.  But  her  position  in  the  college  was 
made  from  that  moment,  and  not  the  slightest  annoyancr  of 


AN  INCIDENT  IN  THE  STUDENT  LIFE  OF  DR.  ELIZABETH  BLACKWELL. — AN  ACTUAL 
SCENE  IN  THE  OPERATING-ROOM  OF  A  MEDICAL  COLLEGE.        2.     THE 
WOMEN'S  HOSPITAL  AND  INFIRMARY,  NEW  YORK  CITV. 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACK  WELL.  143 

any  kind  was  ever  again  attempted  throughout  her  stay.  On 
the  contrary,  a  sincere  regard,  at  once  kindly  and  respectful, 
was  thenceforward  evinced  toward  her  by  her  fellow-students  ; 
and  though,  for  obvious  reasons,  she  still  continued  to  hold 
herself  aloof  from  social  intercourse  with  them,  yet,  when- 
ever the  opportunity  of  so  doing  presented  itself,  in  the 
course  of  their  common  studies,  they  always  showed  them- 
selves ready  and  anxious  to  render  her  any  good  offices  in 
their  power,  and  some  of  them  are  of  her  truest  friends  at 
this  day." 

By  degrees  the  embarrassment  of  her  position  was  for- 
gotten in  her  devotion  to  her  work.  The  wonderful  and 
beautiful  mechanism  of  the  human  body  filled  her  with  a 
reverence  which  cast  out  self-consciousness.  But  the  pain 
she  had  already  endured  convinced  her  of  the  imperative  need 
of  a  separate  medical  school  for  women. 

Never  was  Little  Peddlington  more  distracted  by  a  question 
of  social  etiquette  than  Geneva  by  the  coming  of  the  "  lady 
student."  Boarding-house  keepers  were  warned  that  their 
lodgers  would  leave  them  if  asked  to  sit  at  table  with  so 
doubtful  a  character.  Boys  followed  her  about  the  streets, 
with  audible  and  unflattering  comments  on  her  personal 
appearance  and  supposed  intentions.  Well-dressed  men  and 
women  felt  at  liberty  to  stop  on  the  sidewalk  and  stare  openly 
at  the  prodigy.  But  the  dignity  of  the  quiet  little  figure, 
dressed  always  in  black,  and  intent  upon  its  own  business, 
soon  conquered  civility.  And  when  it  was  known  that  the 
professors'  wives  had  called  upon  her,  the  boarding-houses 
capitulated. 

An  incredible  self-denial  and  industry  marked  Miss  Black- 
well's  college  course.  Even  the  hot  summer  vacation  was 
spent  in  study  and  active  practice  in  one  of  the  outlying 
hospitals  of  Philadelphia.  Like  all  finely-organized  women, 
she  had  an  intense  liking  for  flowers,  odors,  beautiful 
surroundings,  and  dainty  apparel.  But  she  contented  herself 
with  a  cheap  room,  plain  garments,  and  the  rarest  necessaries. 
Years  afterwards  she  used  to  smile  at  the  recollection  of  the 


144  THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL. 

struggle  it  cost  her  to  deny  herself  a  ten-cent  bottle  of  cologne. 
She  remembered  its  exact  place  on  the  chemist's  shelf,  and 
the  pang  she  felt  in  leaving  it  there. 

The  price  of  her  graduation  gown  seriously  encroached  on 
the  little  hoard  so  carefully  kept  for  future  study.  But  as 
always,  she  faced  the  inevitable  with  serenity.  In  a  letter 
written  at  that  time  she  says :  "  I  am  working  hard  for  the 
parchment  which  I  suppose  will  come  in  good  time ;  but  I 
have  still  an  immense  amount  of  dry  reading  to  get  through 
with  and  to  beat  into  my  memory.  I  have  been  obliged  to 
have  a  dress  made  for  the  graduation  ceremony,  and  mean- 
while it  lies  quietly  in  my  trunk  biding  its  time.  It  is  a  rich 
black  silk,  with  a  cape,  trimmed  with  black  silk  fringe, 
and  some  narrow  white  lace  round  the  neck  and  cuffs.  I 
could  not  avoid  the  expense,  though  a  grievous  one  for  a  poor 
student ;  for  the  affair  will  take  place  in  a  crowded  church. 
I  shall  have  to  mount  to  a  platform  on  which  sits  the  presi- 
dent of  the  University,  in  gown  and  triangular  hat,  surrounded 
by  rows  of  reverend  professors ;  and  of  course  I  can  neither 
disgrace  womankind,  the  college,  nor  the  Blackwells  by 
presenting  myself  in  a  shabby  gown." 

On  a  bright  January  day  of  1849  the  largest  church  in 
Geneva  was  packed  with  spectators  eager  to  see  the  presenta- 
tion of  the  first  medical  diploma  ever  granted  to  a  woman. 
Whatever  marvel  they  may  have  expected,  the  reality  was 
simple  enough.  A  slender,  black-robed  girl  ascended  the 
steps,  with  a  group  of  her  brother  students,  and  standing 
undismayed,  the  focus  of  a  thousand  eyes,  received  from 
the  venerable  president  of  the  college  the  blue-ribboned 
parchment  which  converted  "  No.  417  "  into  Doctor  Eliza- 
beth Blackwell.  A  door  hitherto  closed  against  women 
stood  open.  A  whole  world  of  fresh  interests  and  aspir- 
ations invited  them  to  possess  it.  The  old  order  had 
changed,  giving  place  to  new.  And  never  was  revolution 
so  quietly  accomplished. 

When  it  came  to  Dr.  Elizabeth's  turn  to  return  thanks,  she 
said,  in  a  low  voice,  which  the  utter  stillness  made  audible  in 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  145 

the  remotest  corner,  tfl  thank  you,  Mr.  President,  for  the 
sanction  given  to  my  studies  by  the  institution  of  which  you 
are  the  head.  With  the  help  of  the  Most  High,  it  shall  be 
the  endeavor  of  my  life  to  do  honor  to  the  diploma  you  have 
conferred  upon  me." 

No  change  could  well  be  greater  than  that  from  rural 
Geneva  to  cosmopolitan  Paris.  But  the  indomitable  Dr. 
Elizabeth  next  besieged  the  doors  of  that  ancient  city's 
schools.  An  unwritten  Salic  law  excluded  women  from 
inheritance  in  their  unrivalled  opportunities.  The  most  emi- 
nent physicians,  to  whom  she  had  brought  letters  of  intro- 
duction, declared  her  quest  hopeless,  and  advised  her  to  assume 
a  man's  dress  and  register  a  man's  name.  But  like  that  great 
reformer  who  said  :  "I  will  be  as  uncompromising  as  justice. 
I  am  in  earnest ;  I  will  not  equivocate  ;  I  will  not  excuse  ;  I 
will  not  retreat  a  single  inch,  and  I  will  be  heard,"  she  held 
to  her  purpose  with  dogged  tenacity.  After  months  of  weary- 
ing delay,  the  great  lying-in  hospital  of  theMaternite  admitted 
her  as  a  resident-pupil,  and  some  others  consented  to  tolerate 
her  visits.  These  concessions  demanded  a  heavy  return  of 
application  and  labor.  But  Dr.  Elizabeth  was  a  very  Hotspur 
of  young  doctors,  vanquishing  difficulties  as  Percy  his  Scots, 
and  finding  time  for  exacting  private  studies  under  the  ablest 
professors  in  Paris.  Returning  to  London,  she  obtained  ad- 
mission to  St.  Bartholomew's  and  the  Women's  Hospital,  and 
again  took  private  instruction. 

She  had  always  intended  to  practise  in  America,  partly  be- 
cause it  offered  a  better  field  than  England ;  partly  because 
she  was  anxious  to  help  and  encourage  the  many  women 
whom  her  example  had  stimulated  to  attempt  the  study  of 
medicine. 

In  1851,  after  seven  years  of  the  hardest  study,  she  arrived 
in  New  York  to  enter  on  her  profession.  But  her  Hill  of 
Difficulty  stretched  high  and  steep  before  her.  Prejudice 
and  ignorance  are  tough  combatants  who  too  often  push  large- 
minded  ability  into  the  ditch.  The  sensible  young  doctor 
knew  how  slowly  a  good  practice  must  grow.  But  it  seemed, 


146  THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL. 

at  first,  as  if  she  would  not  be  permitted  even  to  plant  the 
germ.  The  mere  mention  of  her  profession  closed  the  doors 
of  reputable  boarding-houses  against  her.  And  when  sub- 
mission to  an  exorbitant  rent  finally  secured  tolerable  office 
room,  the  suspicions  or  neglect  of  her  landladies  sent  away 
patients,  or  failed  to  deliver  messages.  Intelligent  women  of 
the  class  she  had  hoped  to  benefit  sneered  at  "  female  doc- 
tors." Reputable  physicians  ignored  her  claims  as  a  fellow- 
practitioner.  But  the  quiet,  steadfast,  indomitable  woman 
refused  to  be  dismayed.  As  in  Charleston,  Philadelphia, 
Paris,  and  London,  a  few  able  physicians  recognized  her  high 
character  and  capacity,  and  treated  her  with  profound  profes- 
sional and  personal  respect.  Without  this  encouragement  her 
attempt  would  have  been  impracticable  from  the  outset. 
With  it,  she  could  say,  like  Walter  Scott,  "Time  and  I 
against  any  two." 

In  1852  she  delivered  a  series  of  lectures  to  ladies,  on 
hygiene  and  physical  development.  Health  had  not  yet  come 
into  fashion,  but  these  talks  attracted  many  listeners,  partly 
drawn  by  curiosity  to  hear  one  of  the  "  strong-minded," 
partly  by  worthier  motives.  Even  those  who  came  to  scoff, 
however,  remained  to  praise,  while  not  a  few  became  eager 
patrons  and  patients  of  this  learned  and  high-minded  teacher. 

The  next  year  she  published  an  excellent  treatise  called, 
"  The  Laws  of  Life,  considered  with  reference  to  the  Physi- 
cal Education  of  Girls,"  and,  with  an  increasing  practice, 
found  time  to  establish  a  Dispensary  for  Women  and  Chil- 
dren. This  long-needed  charity  began  its  work  in  a  single 
room,  with  the  free  furnishing  of  advice  and  medicine  to  out- 
door applicants.  But  Dr.  Blackwell  saw  in  it  the  germ  of  a 
beneficent  and  wide-spreading  growth.  As  its  funds  in- 
creased it  was  to  receive  indoor  patients,  providing  indigent 
women  with  able  physicians  of  their  own  sex.  It  was  to 
give  this  class  of  patients,  beside  needed  advice  and  medL 
cine,  plain  and  kind  counsel  concerning  the  care  of  health, 
rearing  and  education  of  children,  household  management, 
and  personal  habits.  It  was  to  educate  an  efficient  body  of 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  147 

nurses  for  the  community,  a  service  of  benefit  not  only  to 
the  sick,  but  to  those  deserving  and  competent  women  who 
would  gladly  earn  their  bread  as  nurses,  could  they  command 
the  necessary  training. 

So  steady  was  the  success  of  Dr.  Elizabeth's  dispensary, 
that  in  May,  1857,  she  was  enabled  to  add  to  it  that  Hospital 
for  Women  which,  both  as  relief-agency  and  as  training- 
school,  had  been  the  hope  of  so  many  years.  This  Infirm- 
ary was  the  first  medical  charity  established  by  female 
physicians,  as  well  as  the  first  hospital  organized  for  the  in- 
struction of  women  in  practical  medicine.  In  ten  years  over 
fifty  thousand  patients  were  relieved  by  its  means.  Thirty- 
one  students  had  been  received,  who  resided  from  one  to  two 
years  in  the  house,  and  nineteen  nurses  had  been  trained  and 
established  in  the  city.  The  record  of  the  seven  subsequent 
years  has  been  even  more  satisfactory. 

Meantime  Dr.  Elizabeth  had  welcomed  a  coadjutor,  able, 
wise,  and  zealous  as  herself.  In  1848  her  younger  sister, 
Emily,  began  a  course  of  medical  reading  and  dissection  with 
Dr.  Davis,  demonstrator  of  anatomy  in  the  Cincinnati  Col- 
lege. Like  Dr.  Elizabeth,  she  brought  perfect  health  and  in- 
domitable energy  to  her  work.  Like  her,  she  possessed 
quick  perception,  and  an  exceptional  memory.  Latin, 
French,  and  German  she  knew  well.  In  Greek  and  mathe- 
matics her  standing  was  fair.  Earning  as  teacher  the  funds 
required  as  student,  she  worked  hard  in  both  capacities  till 
1851,  when  she  applied  for  admission  to  the  Medical  School 
at  Geneva.  To  her  surprise  she  was  refused,  the  same  fac- 
ulty which  had  testified  that  the  presence  of  her  sister  "  had 
exercised  a  beneficial  influence  upon  her  fellow-students  in  all 
respects,"  and  that "  the  average  attainments  and  general  con- 
duct of  the  students  during  the  period  she  had  passed  among 
them,  were  of  a  higher  character  than  those  of  any  class  which 
had  been  assembled  in  the  college  since  the  connection  of  the 
president  with  the  institution,"  now  declaring  that  they  were 
not  prepared  to  consider  the  case  of  Dr.  Elizabeth  a  precedent. 
Ten  other  colleges  in  succession  refused  her  application. 


148  THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL. 

Meanwhile  the  Free  Hospital  of  Bellevue,  in  New  York, 
gave  her  admission  to  study,  and,  after  more  than  a  year  of 
waiting,  the  young  Medical  College  of  Chicago  accepted  her 
as  a  student.  Her  summer  vacation  she  passed  in  hospital 
work  at  Bellevue  and  in  the  chemical  laboratory  of  Dr. 
Doremus.  Returning  to  Chicago  for  the  next  term,  to  her 
surprise  and  dismay  she  found  the  doors  closed  against  her. 
The  State  Medical  Association  had  censured  the  college  for 
having  admitted  a  woman.  The  woman  was  therefore  left 
to  shift  for  herself.  After  much  delay  she  was  received  by 
the  college  of  Cleveland,  where  she  completed  her  course, 
triumphantly  passing  the  examinations.  From  Cleveland  to 
Edinburgh,  studying  in  the  Lying-in  Hospital  and  under  the 
eminent  Dr.  Simpson ;  from  Edinburgh  to  Paris,  follow- 
ing the  clinical  lectures  of  the  great  masters  of  their  art 
through  the  Hotel  Dieu,  Beaujou,  St.  Louis,  the  Hopital  des 
Enfans  Malades,  living  and  working  in  the  vast  establish- 
ment of  the  Maternite ;  from  Paris  to  London,  walking  the 
wards  of  St.  Bartholomew  and  other  hospitals,  Dr.  Emily 
toiled  along  her  conscientious  way,  bringing  back  to  America 
in  the  autumn  of  1856  the  highest  testimonials  of  capacity 
and  acquirement  from  the  men  most  competent  to  bestow 
them. 

A  curious  ebb-tide  of  feeling  concerning  the  fitness  of  pro- 
fessional life  for  women  seemed,  at  that  time,  to  be  bearing 
away  all  that  had  been  gained.  After  the  graduation  of  the 
Doctors  Blackwell,  and  two  or  three  of  their  immediate  suc- 
cessors, the  schools  which  had  received  them  closed  their 
doors  upon  subsequent  applicants.  It  was  as  if  the  Faculties, 
on  the  impulse  of  the  moment,  had  said,  "  Anything  so  simple 
and  natural  as  medical  attendance  upon  women  by  women 
must  be  right,"  but,  having  time  to  think  about  it,  had 
amended  their  formula  to  "  Anything  so  simple  and  natural  as 
medical  attendance  upon  women  by  women  must  be  wrong." 

Separate  schools  for  female  students  of  course  sprang  up. 
But  small  means  and  small  classes  necessaiily  confined  the 
teaching  of  these  schools  to  lectures,  unaccompanied  by  prac- 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  149 

tical  study  and  observation,  while  all  existing  hospitals  and 
dispensaries  were  closed  against  women,  whether  as  physicians 
or  students. 

It  was  this  meagreness  of  opportunity  which  led  Dr.  Black- 
well  to  conclude  that  hospital  experience  would  be  more 
immediately  valuable  to  female  medical  students  than  college 
study,  and  perhaps  more  readily  sustained  by  public  opinion. 
But  even  to  so  humane  and  necessary  an  experiment  as 
that  of  the  hospital  objection  waxed  loud.  The  projectors 
were  assured  that  no  one  would  let  a  house  for  the  purpose ; 
that  the  plan  would  invite  suspicion  and  the  interference  of 
the  law  ;  that  if  deaths  occurred,  their  death  certificates  would 
not  be  recognized ;  that  improper  persons  would  apply  for 
treatment ;  that,  without  resident  male  physicians,  discipline 
could  not  be  maintained ;  and,  finally,  that  they  would  never 
be  able  to  collect  money  for  so  unpopular  an  undertaking. 

The  Doctors  Blackwell  had  the  courage  of  their  opinions. 
They  held  nothing  which  was  right  to  be  impossible.  They 
found  the  house.  They  prepared  the  sick  wards.  Through 
discouragement  and  distrust  they  held  their  serene  way.  The 
practice  was  conducted  entirely  by  women,  but  a  board  of 
consulting  physicians,  men  of  the  highest  standing,  gave  it 
sanction  and  reputation.  Necessary  operations  were  per- 
formed by  its  attending  female  physicians,  and  performed 
with  adequate  skill  and  nerve.  In  a  year  or  two  the  govern- 
ment of  a  hospital  by  women  for  women  was  a  proved 
success. 

In  1865  the  trustees  obtained  from  the  Legislature  a  char- 
ter conferring  college  powers  upon  the  institution.  The  new 
college  began  with  certain  amendments  of  established  customs, 
which  the  profession  at  large  had  vainly  urged  upon  the  older 
schools ;  namely,  the  extension  of  the  college  course  through 
three  years,  the  lengthening  of  the  college  year,  the  grading 
the  course,  so  that  each  year's  study  was  not  a  repetition  of 
the  preceding  one.  A  chair  of  hygiene  was  established, 
which,  surprising  as  is  the  statement,  for  the  first  time  made 
hygiene  a  branch  of  instruction  in  any  medical  college  in  this 
10 


150  THE  DOCTOKS  BLACXWELL. 

country.  "  Of  the  forty-six  students  who  had  passed  through 
the  Infirmary  prior  to  1878,  nine  were  married  women,  five 
of  them  the  wives  of  physicians,  all  now  engaged  in  practice 
with  their  husbands.  Three  graduates  were  daughters  of 
physicians,  now  in  practice  with  their  fathers.  Four  had 
gone  abroad  as  missionaries,  it  having  been  found  that  women 
physicians  obtain  access  to  Eastern  women  as  no  other  mis- 
sionaries can.  One  of  these  has  succeeded  in  establishing  in 
China  a  hospital  for  women,  through  which  she  is  exerting 
a  widespread  influence.  Sixteen  graduates  have  engaged  in 
hospital  work  as  resident  physicians,  or  as  physicians  to 
women's  colleges,  as  Yassar  and  Mount  Holyoke.  Seven 
have  pursued  their  studies  at  European  universities.  One  of 
these  in  connection  with  one  of  the  professors  at  Zurich  has 
published  a  paper  of  original  research  on  some  points  of 
physiology.  The  thesis  of  another  has  been  republished  by 
an  English  medical  journal  as  one  of  the  most  important 
papers  contributed  to  the  subject.  Two  graduates  have  ap- 
plied for  hospital  positions  given  by  competitive  examina- 
tions, these  being  the  first  instances  in  which  women  have 
been  allowed  to  compete.  Both  candidates  passed  honorably. 
One  obtained  the  desired  position  at  Mount  Sinai  Hospital, 
and  filled  it  well.  The  other  was  refused  the  post  of  Interne 
at  the  Charity  Hospital,  because  no  arrangement  had  been 
made  for  giving  it  to  a  woman." 

Almost  invariably  the  pupils  of  the  Infirmary  have  remained 
in  the  practice  of  their  profession,  supported  themselves  by 
it,  and  in  many  instances  acquired  a  competence. 

From  the  beginning,  all  the  professional  work  of  the  insti- 
tution has  been  done  by  women.  Daily  prescribing  in  the 
dispensary,  charge  of  patients  in  the  wards,  visiting  the  poor 
in  their  own  homes,  exposure  to  wet,  fatigue,  bad  air,  con- 
tact with  every  form  of  disease,  all  the  hardships  and  horrors 
known  to  the  city  practitioner,  have  not  discouraged  the 
ardor  or  impaired  the  health  of  these  physicians.  On  the 
contrary,  their  roused  mental  activities  vivify  and  strengthen 
the  physical  nature. 


THE  DOCTORS  BLACKWELL.  151 

When  the  institution  she  had  founded  was  strong  enough 
to  do  without  her,  when  the  scores  of  women  whom  she  had 
helped  to  help  themselves  were  able  to  help  others,  when 
the  public  sentiment  which  her  example  had  created  was  ready 
to  release  new  fields  of  labor  to  her  sex,  Dr.  Elizabeth  felt 
that  she  could  do  more  useful  work  in  England  than  in 
America.  For  some  years  she  has  lived  in  London,  writing, 
lecturing,  advising,  organizing,  saying  the  fit  word  in  the  fit 
place,  helping  the  efforts  of  women  towards  self-support  and 
higher  culture.  Dr.  Emily  has  remained  in  New  York,  busy, 
useful ,  and  honored.  The  Women's  Hospital  and  College  profit 
by  her  attendance  and  instruction,  her  private  practice  is  large, 
the  best  physicians  of  the  city  acknowledge  her  remarkable 
attainments,  and  willingly  meet  her  in  consultation. 

Other  women  are  making  a  high  professional  name.  Other 
women  have  toiled  faithfully  for  high  professional  education. 
But  in  their  undertaking  the  Black  well  sisters  stood  not  more 
for  personal  success  than  for  woman's  right  to  labor.  They 
chose  an  interdicted  and  uncongenial  calling,  pursuing  it  in  the 
face  of  poverty,  suspicion,  misrepresentation,  and  the  preju- 
dice which  denies  opportunity,  not  more  to  vindicate  their 
conscious  capacity  than  to  justify  woman's  right  to  learning. 
And  if  paid  industry  is  coming  into  fashion  for  their  sex,  the 
new  mode  owes  no  little  of  its  vogue  to  the  discussion  of 
woman's  work  and  wage  which  their  brave  experiment 
excited. 

The  moral  of  biography,  said  a  great  man,  is,  that  by  heroic 
encouragements,  it  holds  us  to  our  task.  Lives  like  these 
make  toil  and  self-denial  seem  easy,  kindle  new  hopes  and 
aspirations,  lift  those  who  ponder  them  above  their  old  selves 
and  their  old  lot,  and  take  the  sting  from  that  bitter  curse  of 
Timon  of  Athens,  "  If  there  sit  twelve  women  at  the  table, 
let  a  dozen  of  them  be  —  as  they  are." 


CHAPTER  VII. 
FKANCES    HODGSON    BUKNETT. 

BY  ELIZABETH  BRYANT  JOHNSTON. 

Mrs.  Burnett's  English  Home  —  Tales  of  Her  Childhood  —  Emigration  to 
America  —  A  Helpless  Family  in  a  Strange  Land  — The  Struggle  for  Sub- 
sistence —  Incidents  of  Her  Girlhood  —  Her  Sympathy  for  the  Poor  — 
How  She  Acquired  Her  Knowledge  of  English  Dialect  —  The  Original 
"Lasso'  Lowrie's"—  First  Literary  Efforts  —  Seeking  a  Publisher  —  De 
vising  Ways  and  Means  —  Diplomacy  —  A  Day  of  Triumph  and  Happi- 
ness—  "Who  is  She?"  —  Life  at  Mt.  Ararat  —  Revisiting  England  — 
Her  Washington  Home  —  A  Thrilling  Incident  at  Long  Branch  —  A 
Heroine  in  Real  Life —  Mrs.  Burnett's  Personal  Appearance. 

T  is  as  difficult  to  write  a  faithful  biography  as  to 
paint  a  true  portrait.  The  artist  gives  form, 
line,  color,  and  a  phase  of  life  or  expression ; 
the  biographer  gives  country,  lineage,  personal 
appearance,  deeds ;  but  the  better  part  of  a 
life,  the  incentive,  is  as  hard  to  catch,  as  delicate 
to  transcribe,  as  the  soul  is  to  imprison  on 
canvas.  Indeed,  a  perfect  biography  may  only 
be  written  when  it  is  possible  to  divest  the 
mind  of  the  conviction  that  in  writing  it  a  privilege 
is  being  taken  with  individual  rights. 

It  will  be  conceded  that  the  few  incidents  usually  scattered 
"through  the  years  of  a  woman's  life  are  enclosed  by  two 
words  —  "opportunity,"  "duty."  Men  make  their  oppor- 
tunities ;  women  accept  the  appointment  of  destiny ;  therefore, 
their  lines  in  life  are  more  dependent  on  the  accident  of  birth, 
and  are  longer  under  the  governance  of  another  will.  Woman's 
duty  is  her  own,  not  limited  by  station,  but  may  rather  be 
called  limitless,  knowing  only  such  bounds  as  mental  and 
.physical  strength  have  set.  In  writing  the  life  of  a  woman, 
152 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT  153 

these  obstinate  facts  are  encountered  at  the  beginning —  first, 
the  scarcity  of  event,  and  second,  the  ever  present  realization 
that  whatever  is  best,  strongest,  loveliest,  and  most  worthy 
to  be  admired  and  imitated,  is  so  delicately  interwoven  with 
the  sacredness  of  domestic  ties  that  the  world  may  never  know 
that  life's  full  beauty.  Therefore  the  drawing,  tone,  and 
color  of  a  woman's  pen-portrait  must  be  found  in  incidents 
rather  than  in  important  events. 

Frances  Hodgson  Burnett  was  born  in  the  thrifty  old 
manufacturing  city  of  Manchester,  Lancashire,  England. 
She  is  the  daughter  of  Edwin  Hodgson,  a  merchant  who 
lived  near  the  suburbs  of  the  city,  in  a  commodious  house 
facing  Islington  Square,  and  near  the  well-known  Isling- 
ton House,  a  mansion  quite  pretentious  within  this  gen- 
eration. Her  father,  having  died  when  she  was  about  four 
years  old,  was  little  more  than  a  memory  to  her.  Her 
mother  was  Miss  Eliza  Boond,  daughter  of  William  Boond,  a 
heavy  cotton  manufacturer.  He  was  an  heroic  character, 
such  as  would  have  delighted  Mrs.  Gaskell  or  Charles  Reade 
as  a  model  in  that  crisis  when  the  ill-feeling  between  manufac- 
turer and  operative  was  most  bitter,  consequent  upon  the 
introduction  of  machinery  into  the  mills.  In  these  periods  of 
excitement  his  personal  danger  was  not  small,  and  on  their  way 
to  and  from  church  his  daughters  were  often  hooted  at  by  the 
angry  weavers.  . 

The  description  given  by  her  mother  of  the  coolness  and 
hauteur  of  one  of  these  aunts  under  circumstances  so  embar- 
rassing used  to  delight  Frances.  She  had  no  recollection  of 
her  grandfather,  but  one  of  the  pleasures  of  her  childhood  was 
an  intimate  association  with  her  grandmother,  a  beautiful  old 
lady^  of  fourscore,  with  stately  carriage,  placid  brow,  and 
snowy  hair.  Her  maiden  name  was  Hannah  Clegg,  and  her 
family  was  of  gentry,  which  had  intermarried  with  wealthy 
manufacturers. 

In  the  home  circle  Frances  was  thought  to  have  inherited 
the  characteristics  of  her  maternal  grandmother,  and  it  may 
have  been  this  similarity  that  made  her  a  chosen  companion 


154  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

of  the  old  lady.  She  would  often  ask  Frances  to  remain 
through  the  night  with  her,  and  the  little  maiden,  before 
breakfast  was  served,  would  read  aloud  from  a  well-marked 
copy  of  Young's  "Night  Thoughts,"  always  a  welcome  author 
to  the  listener.  Sometimes  the  aged  mother  would  interest 
the  child  with  family  legends,  several  of  which  she  recalled 
years  after.  One  was  of  a  certain  Lady  Alice  Clegg,  of 
Ordsall  Hall,  who  was  privately  married  to  a  mysterious 
stranger,  with  whom  she  soon  removed  to  the  Continent,  and 
never  returned.  The  country  folk  started  the  rumor  that  the 
deserted  hall  was  haunted,  as  strange,  fitful  lights  were  seen 
moving  to  and  fro  at  the  "  wee  sma'  hours  ;  "  but  the  sudden 
advent  of  London  detectives,  who  arrested  a  band  of  counter- 
feiters established  there,  laid  the  ghosts. 

Another  story  was  of  a  beautiful  girl,  — the  eldest  of  seven 
Misses  Clegg, — who,  from  an  unhappy  love-affair,  resolved 
to  become  dumb,  and  for  seven  years  no  persuasion  nor  arti- 
fice could  induce  her  to  speak,  or  hold  communication  in  any 
manner  with  man,  woman,  or  child.  There  was  no  paralysis 
—  only  a  very  firm  will, — and  it  was  conjectured  that  she 
had  made  a  vow.  One  afternoon  she  astonished  the  maids 
by  walking  into  the  kitchen,  and  with  her  own  hands  prepar- 
ing tea  ;  then  calling  her  sisters  to  the  table,  took  her  rightful 
seat  at  the  head ;  and  this  particularly  composed  maiden  lady 
led  the  conversation  on  the  current  events  of  the  neighborhood, 
but  could  in  no  way  be  induced  to  explain  her  self-imposed 
silence.  During  these  seven  years  her  only  occupation  was 
writing,  and  she  always  destroyed  her  manuscript  when  it 
seemed  to  be  completed. 

The  intimacy  of  Frances  and  her  grandmother  continued  as 
long  as  the  aged  lady  lived,  who  often  said,  "  No  one  knows 
what  a  comfort  that  dear  child  has  been  to  me." 

At  the  time  of  Mr.  Hodgson's  death  his  business  was  in 
flourishing  condition,  and  he  left  it  to  the  management  of  an 
experienced  business  man,  to  be  turned  over  to  his  sons  when 
they  were  of  suitable  age  to  accept  the  responsibility.  Affairs 
were  badly  managed,  and  the  civil  war  in  America  gave  the 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  155 

final  blow  to  their  fortunes.  In  a  few  years  Mrs.  Hodgson 
discovered  that  she  was  utterly  without  means  to  rear  and 
educate  her  five  children — Herbert,  John,  Frances,  Edith, 
and  the  baby,  Edwina,  who  was  born  after  her  husband's 
death.  She  was  a  woman  of  refinement,  accustomed  to  ease 
and  luxury,  and  the  situation  was  one  that  demanded  imme- 
diate action.  A  brother  had  some  time  previously  removed 
to  the  United  States,  and  was  established  in  prosperous  busi- 
ness in  Knoxville,  Tenn.  He  wrote  to  her  to  come  to 
America,  holding  out  as  an  inducement  the  promise  of  imme- 
diate employment  for  the  two  boys.  She  ventured  into  a 
strange  land  with  her  helpless  family,  but  about  the  time  of 
her  arrival  her  brother  became  involved  in  ruinous  litigation, 
and  was  powerless  to  fulfil  his  kind  intentions. 

They  left  their  home  cheerfully,  and  no  one  of  them  had 
finer  spirits  than  the  eldest  daughter,  Frances.  To  this  pre- 
cocious girl,  life  in  the  New  World  had  great  fascination.  It 
altogether  assumed  the  form  of  charming  adventures  in  search 
of  fortune,  where  every  change  was  not  only  sure  to  bring 
success,  but  in  addition  to  present  interesting  studies  of  a 
strange  people.  The  reality  was  very  different.  From  the 
date  of  their  arrival  the  struggle  began  —  a  hand-to-hand 
fight  for  subsistence,  in  which  the  willing  hands,  the  an- 
swering genius  of  her  daughter  came  to  the  rescue.  The 
civil  war  gave  Frances  Hodgson  Burnett  to  America  —  pov- 
erty called  forth  her  strength  and  gave  her  work  to  the  world. 

Frances  was  the  eldest  daughter  and  third  child,  and  her 
remarkable  mind  had  always  been  a  matter  of  pride  to  the 
family.  At  the  early  age  of  three  sh  e  stood  by  the  side  of 
her  aunt  and  read  one  of  the  parables  out  of  a  large  Bible.* 
The  little  one  had  apparently  absorbed  the  art  of  reading, 
as  no  one  had  taken  any  special  care  in  teaching  her.  Her 
childhood  was  marked  by  a  passionate  fondness  for  books ; 
reading, —  when  permitted,  or  by  stealth,  —  was  her  daily 
avocation.  Finally  books  became  her  crime,  and  ffthat  child 

*  In  a  recent  biographical  sketch  of  Madame  Henri  Greville,  it  is  stated 
that  she  read  fluently  at  the  same  age. 


156  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

has  a  book  again,"  was  the  signal  for  new  prohibitory  resolu- 
tions made  by  the  mother,  and  persistently  disregarded  by 
the  child  ;  —  until  the  sorrow  and  disobedience  of  her  young 
life  was  —  "a  book,  always  a  book/'  Nooks  and  closets  were 
utilized  by  her  to  secrete  favorite  volumes,  until  one  day 
she  offended  beyond  endurance.  She  had  been  hurriedly  des- 
patched to  the  domestic  realm  with  a  message  of  importance, 
when  she  sat  down  on  the  broad  stairway,  and,  beginning  to 
read,  forgot  all  about  the  order.  There  was  a  commotion, 
and  the  hitherto  indulgent  mother  made  laws,  the  breaking  of 
which  would  have  been  unprecedented  in  any  well-regulated 
English  household. 

o 

The  little  maiden's  hunger  for  romance  had,  for  a  time,  to 
be  satisfied  by  her  own  creations.  Her  dolls  had  always 
lived  in  her  mind,  each  china-baby  and  wax-darling  assuming 
roles;  and  she  loved  to  play  alone  with  them,  weaving  for 
each  a  romantic  destiny.  In  the  wide  range  of  her  reading, 
this  girl,  now  seven,  had  found  great  attractions  in  Stevens' 
"Central  America."  She  therefore  immediately  equipped  an 
exploring  expedition,  and  the  daily  report  of  the  doll  voyagers 
was  indeed  unique.  "  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin  "  was  among  her 
favorite  works,  and  she  was  not  contented  until  a  black  doll 
was  purchased,  which  she  dressed  and  invested  with  all  the 
woes  and  virtues  of  Topsy.  That  gentle  lady,  her  mother, 
was  distressed  one  day  upon  entering  the  nursery  to  discover 
her  little  daughter,  whom  she  thought  an  amiable  child, 
vigorously  whipping  poor  Topsy.  She  had  improvised  a 
whipping-post,  and  assumed  the  character  of  "Legree." 

One  of  the  happiest  incidents  of  her  childhood  was  dis- 
covering in  a  collection  of  books  left  by  her  father,  a  complete 
set  of  "  Blackwood's  Magazine."  These  books  were  in  a  hand- 
some mahogany  bookcase  or  secretary  that  then  stood  in  her 
mother's  bedroom.  She  had  never  thought  those  dark, 
heavy-looking  volumes  could  contain  anything  except  legal 
lore,  until  her  eye  was  accidentally  arrested  by  the  word 
Magazine.  She  clambered  up  and  opened  a  volume.  Here 
were  stories  short  and  stories  long,  —  a  literary  bonanza. 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  157 

Seating  herself  upon  the  ledge  of  the  secretary,  with  her 
little  legs  dangling  over,  she  daily  read,  until  from  sheer 
weariness  she  almost  fell  from  her  perch.  In  this  small 
library  were  many  good  books,  and  her  mother — becoming 
each  season  more  absorbed  and  perplexed  with  business 
entanglements  —  allowed  greater  liberty  to  the  reader,  so 
docile  in  other  ways.  Sitting  thus,  in  the  room  seldom 
entered  during  the  day,  she  read  Shakspeare,  Scott,  Byron, 
Burns  —  Aikin's  "British  Poets"  complete.  It  was  here  she 
read  "  The  Fair  Maid  of  Perth,"  which  opened  a  new  world 
to  her,  and  it  would  have  been  impossible  to  convince  her, 
as  she  hung  with  delight  over  this  beautiful  romance,  that 
the  world  held  in  reserve  for  her  another  joy  so  entrancing. 
Byron  was,  from  seven  to  twelve,  the  poet  of  her  idolatry. 
When  only  eight  she  startled  a  dignified  Scotch  gentleman  by 
expressing  the  opinion  that  "  the  travels  of  Don  Juan  was  a 
very  pleasing  book  of  adventures,"  —  quoting  the  description 
of  Haidee  as  one  of  its  gems  :  — 

"Her  hair's  long  auburn  waves  down  to  her  heels 

Flowed  like  an  Alpine  torrent  which  the  sun 

Dyes  with  his  morning  light ; " 

The  young  man  was  so  surprised  that  he  satisfied  himself  as 
to  the  correctness  of  the  quotation,  and  suggested  that  he 
should  select  books  more  suited  to  her  age,  whereupon 
the  little  lady  decided  him  to  be  "deficient  in  literary  taste." 

From  this  incident  arose  a  firm  friendship  between  the 
precocious  reader  and  the  cultivated  man  of  business ;  — 
one  of  many  pleasant  relations  which  it  was  a  sorrow  to 
break,  upon  removing  to  the  United  States.  Her  compan- 
ionship with  maturer  minds  was  somewhat  peculiar.  She 
had  many  grown-up  friends,  whose  conversation  on  books  and 
authors,  though  a  delight  to  her,  did  not  appear  to  arouse  her 
vanity. 

The  fondness  Frances  evinced  for  history,  a  year  or  two 
later,  would  seem  somewhat  paradoxical ;  yet  she  read  such 
works  with  no  less  eagerness  than  she  had  shown  in  perusing 
the  wildest  romance,  and  at  a  remarkably  early  age,  she  was 


158  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

quite  well  versed  in  the  histories  of  Greece,  Rome,  France, 
England,  and  America.  History  had  a  special  charm  to  her 
creative  mind.  The  most  momentous  national  event  was  to 
her  a  splendid  romance,  bristling  with  situations,  — her  vivid 
imagination  supplying  all  that  the  conscientious  historian  had 
not  found. 

Her  education  was  given  into  the  hands  of  the  Misses 
Hadfield,  who  had  a  small  private  school.  They  wrere  the 
daughters  of  an  artist,  and  enjoyed  good  social  relations. 
With  them  she  had  a  careful  English  course  with  music,  in 
which  she  became  quite  proficient.  Her  mother  preferred 
that  she  should  not  study  the  languages  in  England ;  she 
intended  to  take  her  to  France  and  Germany.  The  school 
had  the  advantage  of  a  fine  art  atmosphere.  Books  and 
magazines  on  art  were  at  her  command,  and  at  an  early  age 
she  had  read  much  on  the  subject,  and  had  also  seen  a  great 
many  fine  pictures,  for  the  City  of  Spindles  could  boast  its 
public  exhibitions  and  private  collections. 

She  was  the  "  star  "  of  domestic  troupes,  and  their  fre- 
quent entertainments  presented  to  her  occasions  of  great 
enjoyment  as  well  as  improvement.  Her  three  friends  and 
schoolmates  were  also  sisters  of  her  teachers,  Suzette,  Annie, 
and  Hetty  Hadfield. 

After  school  hours  they  used  to  wander  into  the  neigh- 
borhood where  the  operatives  lived.  They  were  first 
attracted  by  the  charm  of  the  broad  Lancashire  dialect, 
which  they  attempted  to  imitate.  The  effect  of  indulgence 
in  this  was  soon  observed  by  their  teachers,  and  a  penalty 
imposed  for  using  it.  They  had,  however,  acquired  con- 
siderable knowledge  of  the  provincial  phrases,  and  often 
were  offenders  in  their  use.  Their  childish  sympathy  had 
been  awakened  by  the  scenes  of  poverty  which  they  wit- 
nessed, and  the  family  of  Mrs.  Hodgson  were  soon  able 
to  recognize  the  humble  friends,  who  had  been  encour- 
aged by  Frances  to  solicit  alms  at  the  back-door.  These 
came  to  be  distinguished  as  "Frances'  pin-and-needle- 
woman,"  —  "  Frances'  fitty  woman,"  —  "  Frances'  dumb 
man,"  etc. 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.,  159 

As  a  small  child,  she  began  the  study  of  character,  and 
especially  such  as  she  met  among  the  operatives.  Their  house 
faced  Islington  Square,  and  the  rear  yard  extended  to  a  nar- 
row street  where  the  long,  low  rows  of  workmen's  houses 
had  been  built.  In  these  adjacent  homes  there  was  fine 
opportunity  for  observation,  and  Frances  was  frequently 
awakened  by  the  reflection  on  the  nursery  ceiling  of  a  single 
candle  in  the  hand  of  a  woman,  who  groped  about  before 
the  daylight  in  her  little  kitchen,  preparing  breakfast  for 
her  sulky  "  man."  The  child  would  spring  out  of  her  bed, 
and  softly  creeping  to  the  window,  lest  the  nurse  should  l>e 
aroused,  would  watch  each  stage  in  the  progress  of  the  morn- 
ing meal.  She  closely  observed  the  various  types  found  in 
these  humble  homes,  —  the  besotted  and  often  brutal  husband, 
the  hopeless  wife-drudge,  the  children,  —  hungry,  prema- 
turely old,  and  preternaturally  wise. 

Islington  Square  was  entered  by  a  large  iron  gate,  and 
through  this  she  was  wont  to  watch  the  operatives,  home- 
ward-bound—  women  and  girls,  with  their  clogs  heavily 
clanking  on  the  paved  walks,  and  their  brooding  faces  en- 
shrouded in  the  indispensable  woollen  shawl.  Through  the 
bars  of  this  gate,  when  nine  years  of  age,  she  first  saw  the 
girl  whom  she  afterwards  draped  in  romance  and  sent  out  to 
the  world  as  "  That  Lass  o'  Lowrie's,"  —  a  tall,  handsome 
figure,  clothed,  according  to  the  custom  of  mill-girls,  with  a 
long,  coarse  linen  apron  over  the  dress,  and  tied  close  down 
the  back  with  strong  tapes  to  guard  against  accidents  from 
machinery.  She  stood  in  a  group  of  children  —  playmates 
all,  save  her  —  for  in  the  midst  of  their  romps  her  fingers 
busily  knitted  on  a  dark,  rough  sock.  She  was  so  different 
from  the  others  —  strong,  massive  frame,  large,  luminous 
gray  eyes,  pale,  clear-cut  face,  and  head  rivalling  in  pose  the 
Venus  of  Milo,  —  she  instantly  riveted  the  attention  of  the 
maiden  at  the  gate  ;  but  not  till  long  years  after  did  Frances 
realize  her  to  have  been  so  wondrously  beautiful,  for  at  that 
period  of  the  young  romancer's  life  her  type  of  female  loveli- 
ness demanded  rosy  cheeks  and  sparkling  eyes.  The  refined 


160  FRANCES  HODGSON   BURNETT. 

strength  of  the  girl  had  a  fascination  she  could  not  then 
analyze,  but  she  has  since  looked  in  vain  for  a  face  so  fair,  a 
form  so  majestic.  The  boisterous  children  apparently  recog- 
nized her  superiority,  as  appeals  were  made  to  her  in  the 
adjustment  of  all  differences,  and  her  voice  answered  the 
expectation  of  the  listener  at  the  gate,  as  the  replies  fell  upon 
her  ears  in  broad,  yet  musical  Lancashire.  Frances  saw  her 
only  once  more  in  the  square — as  before,  not  at  play,  but 
friend  and  adviser  of  the  children.  This  time  a  brutal-looking 
man,  whose  face  was  swollen  from  drink,  came  and  drove 
her  out  with  angry  words  and  threatening  gestures.  She 
obeyed  silently,  proudly,  yet  without  defiance  or  apparent 
fear.  For  many  afternoons  Frances  watched  at  the  gate  for 
her,  but  in  vain ;  —  that  noble  form  was  never  again  seen 
amid  the  group  in  the  sunny  square. 

What  is  known  as  the  "Lancashire  distress" — 1863-64  — 
will  be  remembered  as  having  elicited  universal  sj^mpathy. 
The  pathetic  poem  by  Miss  Muloch  — ff  A  Lancashire  Dox- 
ology  "  —  was  written  upon  reading  the  following  :  —  "  Some 
cotton  has  been  imported  into  Farrington,  where  the  mills 
have  been  closed  for  a  considerable  time.  The  people, 
who  were  previously  in  deepest  distress,  went  down  to 
meet  the  cotton ;  the  women  wept  over  the  bales,  kissed 
them,  and  finally  sang  the  Doxology  over  them."  Such 
great  suffering  called  upon  the  active  offices  of  both  young 
and  old,  and  Frances  improved  the  opportunity  of  being 
permitted  to  be  the  dispenser  of  modest  charity.  Per- 
haps the  calamitous  effects  of  the  civil  war  were  nowhere, 
save  in  the  South,  so  much  felt  as  in  the  good  old  cotton- 
weaving  city  of  Manchester.  As  before  stated,  the  Hodgson 
family  were  financially  ruined  by  it.  For  four  years,  in 
reply  to  every  coveted  indulgence,  Frances  received  the 
unwelcome  answer,  "  Wait  until  the  war  is  over  in  America, 
then  we  shall  have  more  money." 

An  incident  illustrating  the  precocious  development  of 
Frances  Hodgson  occurred  when  she  had  just  entered  her 
thirteenth  year.  A  friend  of  Mrs.  Hodgson's,  who  had  been 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  161 

reduced  from  affluence,  had  opened  a  school,  and  her  daughter 
was  her  assistant  as  teacher  of  music  and  other  higher 

o 

branches.  She  was  suddenly  called  away,  and  the  good  lady 
—  being  sorely  distressed  to  supply  the  place  —  sent  to  Mrs. 
Hodgson,  asking  if  Frances  might  be  loaned  to  her  for  a  few 
days.  It  was  an  important  period,  just  before  the  close  of 
the  session,  but  the  request  seemed  ridiculous,  as  some  of  the 
scholars  were  nearly  grown.  However,  the  emergency  had 
to  be  met,  and  the  happy  thought  of  putting  her  in  long 
dresses  immediately  set  all  doubt  at  rest.  Her  auburn  hair 
was  twisted  into  an  awe-inspiring  club,  and  with  fearless  heart 
she  entered  the  hall  and  taught  to  the  close  of  the  term. 

Her  first  literary  effort  was  written  at  the  age  of  seven,  and 
was  a  poem — "Church  Bells,"  —  which  was  immediately 
destroyed.  Her  second,  also  a  poem,  in  the  same  year,  was 
shown  to  her  mother.  One  Sunday  evening  when  the  family 
had  all  gone  to  church  she  began  a  dolorous  poem  entitled, 
"  Alone."  Suddenly  striking  another  key,  she  launched  into 
a  humorous  description  of  the  woes  of  old  bachelorhood. 
When  Mrs.  Hodgson  returned,  Frances  followed  her  to  her 
room,  and  read  the  effusion.  The  reader  was  interrupted 
with  exclamations  of  "  How  clever  I "  w  How  very  funny  ! " 
r  Where  did  you  find  this  ?  "  the  mother  said  when  it  was 
ended.  Learning  that  Frances  had  written  it,  she  stooped 
down  and  kissed  her,  saying,  "  My  child,  I  believe  you  have 
the  gift  of  ten  talents."  "  No,  mamma,"  replied  Frances, 
with  calm  conviction,  "  I  am  not  clever ;  you  think  so  because 
you  love  me.  A  little  girl  who  is  clever  would  love  arith- 
metic better  than  I  do." 

A  story  immediately  followed  the  poem,  the  title  of  which 
was  "Frank  Ellsworth,  or  Bachelors'  Buttons."  It  was  the 
history  of  a  woman-hater,  ending  in  his  total  and  abject 
enslavement  by  some  dazzling  daughter  of  Eve.  This  was 
read  in  sections  to  her  mother,  and  then  destroyed ;  for 
her  brothers,  discovering  her  delight  in  scribbling,  insti- 
tuted a  system  of  bantering  and  teasing,  holding  her  efforts  in 
utter  contempt  as  "girl's  romance,"  "silly  stuff,"  and  treating 


162  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

it  all  with  undisguised  disdain.  So  the  little  .girl  hid  her 
manuscript  with  trembling  anxiety  from  these  audacious 
critics,  who  voted  her  a  jolly  playfellow  if  they  could  only 
get  books  and  pens  out  of  her  hands. 

Every  English  girl  keeps  a  small  book  of  personal  expenses, 
and  in  her  earlier  efforts  in  romance  Frances  would  fre- 
quently utilize  her  account-book.  Once,  when  visiting  an 
aunt  in  the  country,  the  good  lady  looked  through  the 
bureau  in  Frances'  room  to  satisfy  herself  as  to  the  orderly 
habits  of  her  charge.  She  opened  the  little  book,  and 
supplementary  to  the  modest  rows  of  figures  was  a  story, 
entitled  "  Millicent's  Romance."  "  What  is  this  ? "  sternly 
demanded  the  lady  of  the  culprit,  who  stood  near.  "  Only  a 
little  scribbling  of  mine,"  said  the  abashed  girl.  "Do  not 
waste  your  time  in  that  foolish  way,"  was  the  discouraging 
advice. 

Her  second  story  was  rather  more  pretentious,  and  was 
read  to  the  dear  mother  as  before.  Its  title  was  "  Celeste,  or 
Fortune's  Wheel,"  and  the  manuscript  was  kept  until  the 
family  left  England,  when  it  was  burned,  with  an  accumula- 
tion of  like  nature.  Before  she  came  to  the  United  States 
she  had  made  notes  for  a  story,  which  was  finished  in 
Tennessee,  and  sent  to  "Ballou's  Magazine."  It  was  the  first 
story  for  which  she  attempted  to  find  a  publisher,  and  the 
trial  was  made  the  third  year  after  their  removal  to  America. 
In  the  privations  of  their  new  life  it  occurred  to  Frances, 
who  was  then  teaching  a  country  school  in  New  Market,  that 
she  would  make  this  venture.  The  school-room  was  in  their 
own  home, — an  old  log-house,  which  they  had  dubbed 
"Noah's  Ark."  The  payment  for  her  services  was  almost 
entirely  in  vegetable  currency,  —  potatoes,  cornmeal,  flour, 
and  occasionally  bacon.  Frances  did  not  have  the  nerve  to 
submit  to  her  mother,  nor  yet  to  her  brothers,  the  daring  pro- 
posal to  send  her  manuscript  to  a  publisher,  but  of  her  sister 
Edith,  who  was  the  "  Dame  Durden  "  of  the  establishment,  she 
took  counsel.  From  the  first  suggestion  Edith  was  sanguine, 
and  the  manuscript  of  w  Miss  Carruthers'  Engagement "  was 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  163 

revised,  but  at  the  outset  the  two  girls  had  to  meet  a  very 
embarrassing  question  ;  "  Where  were  they  to  get  the  money 
for  postage  ?  "  It  would  not  do  to  ask  Herbert,  for  he  would 
demand  to  know  what  they  intended  doing  with  such  an 
amount.  It  never  occurred  to  them  to  ask  a  favor — a  loan. 
"  Dame  Burden "  at  last  proposed  that  they  should  spend  a 
morning  gathering  blackberries,  which  they  could  dispose  of 
in  town.  The  possible  return  of  the  manuscript  was  another 
perplexity  which  must  be  guarded  against ;  for  that  it  should 
fall  into  the  hands  of  the  family  was  a  mortification  that  could 
not  be  endured.  It  was  finally  determined  to  ask  permis- 
sion of  a  gentleman  friend  to  have  some  letters  or  pack- 
ages enclosed  to  him.  He  was  only  too  glad  to  oblige  the 
young  English  girls  ;  and  besides  this  the  request  had  a  flavor 
of  romance,  as  visions  of  returned  love-letters  flitted  across 
his  mind.  "But  how  can  I  distinguish  your  letters  or 
packages  from  my  own?"  "I  will  have  '  The  Second 'put 
on  mine,"  replied  Frances.  The  story  was  despatched,  and 
the  editor  replied  that  he  was  pleased  with  it,  and  would 
publish  it,  but  did  not  propose  to  pay  for  it.  This  was 
stoutly  opposed  by  Edith,  who  maintained  that  "  if  it  was 
worth  publishing,  it  was  worth  paying  for" — which  sound 
position  the  young  author  approved.  So  they  wrote  for  the 
story  to  be  returned,  and  then  sent  it  to  Mr.  Godey,  who 
promptly  replied,  inquiring  if  it  was  an  original  story,  as  it 
seemed  strange  that  a  tale  of  English  life  should  emanate 
from  Eastern  Tennessee.  He  also  requested  her  to  write 
another,  and  Frances  at  once  wrote  "  Hearts  and  Diamonds," 
by  "  The  Second."  This  was  published  in  "  Godey's  Maga- 
zine," in  June,  1868,  and  "Miss  Carruthers'  Engagement" 
followed  in  October  of  the  same  year;  the  editor  paying 
thirty-five  dollars  for  the  two  short  stories. 

It  need  not  be  said  that  this  was  a  far  larger  amount  than 
had  been  anticipated  by  the  girls ;  and  it  was  a  day  of  tri- 
umph and  happiness  when  Herbert  took  the  young  author  in 
his  arms  and  kissed  her.  From  that  day  until  this,  work 
with  her  pen  has  been  the  first  duty  of  this  gifted  woman* 


164  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

She  had  not  anticipated  or  cared  for  a  literary  career ;  nor 
does  she  appear,  even  at  the  present  moment,  to  have  de- 
veloped, in  the  great  pressure  of  her  busy  life,  an  ambition 
comparable  with  her  rich  endowments.  Urgent  need  has 
been  the  spur ;  but  there  is  little  doubt  if  she  had  continued  in 
the  sphere  of  ease  and  luxury  to  which  she  was  born  some 
crisis  in  life  would  have  called  for  her  aid  or  work. 

When  she  had  once  begun,  she  wrote  with  amazing  rapidity. 
Her  contributions  were  accepted  by  Ballou,  Frank  Leslie, 
Peterson,  Harper,  and  Scribner.  "  Dolly  "  appeared  in  1872, 
in  "The  Ladies'  Friend,"  edited  by  Mrs.  Henry  Peterson, 
and  was  the  first  novel  which  was  afterwards  published  in 
book  form.  To  the  timely  and  unselfish  encouragement  of 
Charles  J.  Peterson,  more  than  to  any  other  person,  does 
Mrs.  Burnett  attribute  her  success.  For  this  she  never  fails 
to  give  him  due  meed  of  praise,  speaking  with  affectionate 
gratitude.  "But  for  that  man's  honest  consideration,  I 
might  early  have  become  discouraged,  as  I  never  for  a  moment 
contemplated  writing  without  remuneration  ;  —  the  need  was 
too  urgent.'*  She  contributed  to  his  magazine  for  years,  and 
from  time  to  time,  without  a  suggestion  from  the  modest 
writer,  he  would  increase  the  pay,  writing,  "  You  are  growing 
more  and  more  valuable  to  my  magazine."  Later,  he  said 
to  her  husband,  "  I  know  Mrs.  Burnett  will  rapidly  advance 
in  popularity,  and  I  may  not  be  able  to  pay  her  such  prices 
as  she  can  command.  When  that  time  comes  I  do  not  want 
her  to  hesitate  to  write  for  others,  or  to  feel  that  she  is  under 
obligations  to  me.  I  am  more  her  friend  than  her  pub- 
lisher.''1 He  liberally  advanced  money  for  the  trip  to  Europe, 
and  when  she  wrote  "  Louisiana  "  to  meet  this  indebtedness, 
he  gave  ready  consent  that  it  should  be  sent  to  Scribner,  and 
waited  until  she  could  write  "  A  Fair  Barbarian." 

The  first  story  sent  to  the  Scribners  was  in  1872,  and  was 
-entitled  "The  Woman  who  Saved  Me."  This  was  returned, 
with  the  comment  that  it  was  too  long ;  but  the  real  reason, 
as  was  afterwards  admitted,  was  that  they  feared  it  was  not 
original,  because  of  the  finished  style  and  English  manner 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  165 

of  writing,  —  they  thought  it  might  have  been  taken  from 
some  trans- Atlantic  magazine.  However,  they  requested  her 
to  send  a  shorter  story,  and  she  wrote  ?  Surly  Tim's  Troubles." 
The  following  note,  upon  the  receipt  of  the  second  MSS., 
left  no  doubt  as  to  its  acceptance  :  — 

"NEW  YORK,  Feb.  23,  1872. 

"DEAR  Miss  HODGSON,  —  Dr.  Holland  and  Dr.  Holland's 
daughter  (Miss  Annie)  and  Dr.  Holland's  right-hand  man  (myself) 
have  all  wept  sore  over  *  Surly  Tim.'  Hope  to  weep  again  over 
MSS.  from  you.  Very  sincerely  and  tearfully, 

"WATSON  GILDER." 

Both  of  these  stories  "  by  Miss  Fannie  E.  Hodgson,"  ap- 
peared in  "  Scribner,"  and  from  that  time,  a  period  of  eleven 
years,  she  has  been  a  regular  contributor. 

The  profit  of  this  young  girl's  pen  soon  began  to  lift  the 
family  from  indigence  to  comparative  comfort.  The  gentle 
mother  lost  some  of  the  deep  lines  furrowed  by  anxiety,  and 
the  household,  — having  abundant  capacity  for  enjoyment,  — 
was  a  very  happy  one.  It  was  an  unequal  fight  with  poverty, 
as  they  had  no  training  for  such  a  struggle.  They  removed 
as  early  as  1868  to  Knoxville,  finding  a  house  that  pleased 
them,  on  the  banks  of  the  Tennessee,  in  the  suburbs  of  the 
town.  They  chose  this  house  because  its  tiers  of  wide 
verandas  made  it  resemble  a  boat ;  and  Herbert  had  a  boat, 
though  many  other  important  things  were  not  purchased. 

The  gay  young  people  named  this  home  "  Mt.  Ararat ; " 
and  it  was  a  home  from  which  care  was  banished,  and  indul- 
gence in  fun  and  frolic  was  encouraged  by  the  loving  mother, 
who  assented  to  any  suggestion  within  the  bounds  of  pro- 
priety. Entirely  emancipated  from  conventional  austerity, 
they  were  amiable,  talented,  and  contented,  and  by  their 
varied  gifts  some  new  interest  was  continually  afforded.  One 
could  paint,  another  play  or  sing,  while  the  third  could  write 
or  improvise  a  story.  It  is  true  they  had  no  carpets  on  the 
floor,  no  lace  curtains  at  the  windows,  —  but  they  had  a 
piano,  a  harp,  an  organ,  a  guitar,  a  violin,  a  piccolo,  and  a 
banjo,  so  that  a  concert  could  be  given  impromptu  at  any 
11 


166  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

hour.  Frequently  there  was  no  pudding  for  dinner,  but  there 
was  a  painting  on  the  easel,  a  new  book  to  be  read,  or  a  manu- 
script by  Frances,  over  which  they  might  laugh  or  cry. 

In  the  dawning  of  this  more  prosperous  future  the  beloved 
mother  died.  Frances,  as  eldest  daughter,  was  burdened 
with  increased  care,  which,  with  the  sudden  bereavement,  was 
very  hard  to  bear.  A  year  later  the  household  presented  a 
group  of  engaged  young  people ;  all  five,  — 'every  member 
of  the  family,  except  their  cousin,  Frederick  Boond,  — wrere 
determined  to  face  the  perils  of  matrimony.  Those  were 
halcyon  days.  Fun  and  frolic  were  succeeded  by  a  summer 
of  poetry  and  happy  dreams.  Herbert  married  Miss  Burnett, 
the  sister  of  Dr.  Swan  M.  Burnett,  to  whom  Frances  had 
become  engaged ;  and  when  the  brother  brought  home  his 
bride,  "Mt.  Ararat"  became  the  model  of  "Vagabond! a." 

Soon  after  the  marriage  of  her  brother,  Miss  Hodgson, 
being  released  from  the  responsible  care  of  her  sisters,  went 
to  England,  intending  also  to  visit  the  Vienna  Exposition. 
Being  taken  ill  at  her  relative's  in  Manchester,  she  remained 
there,  and  wrote  "  Dolly."  During  this  long  visit  she  read  a 
series  of  articles  in  the  "  Manchester  Guardian,"  which 
directed  her  sympathies  anew  to  the  lives  of  miners  and 
weavers.  This  resulted  in  the  production,  after  her  return  to 
Tennessee,  of  "That  Lass  o'  Lowrie's  "  —  "the  flower  and 
crown  of  all  recent  fiction." 

She  remained  abroad  about  fifteen  months, — returned 
September  16,  1873,  and  was  married  to  Dr.  Burnett  on  the 
17th.  Dr.  Burnett  was  practising  in  Knoxville,  and  for  a 
year  pursued  this  uneventful,  unpromising,  and  laborious  life. 
His  wife,  —  never  ambitious  for  herself,  —  saw  not  only  that 
her  husband  was  unappreciated,  but,  writh  the  example  of  so 
many  physicians  around  her,  that  he  was  in  danger  of  falling 
into  a  rut,  and  with  the  care  of  a  family,  of  accepting  the 
situation.  She  knew  his  ability,  and  his  desire  to  •  devote 
himself  to  the  specialty  for  which  he  had  already  spent  one 
winter  in  New  York,  and  she  determined  he  should  have 
every  advantage.  But  anxious  as  he  was  to  complete  his 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.          167 

studies  as  an  oculist,  he  very  naturally  inquired  where  the 
means  could  be  found.  The  reply  was  "My  pen."  Nothing 
else  was  thought  of  by  the  wife  and  mother  —  for  a  brown- 
eyed  boy — Lionel  —  had  been  born  to  them.  It  was  deter- 
mined to  start  in  quest  of  fortune,  and  they  began  pre- 
parations for  their  forlorn  venture.  Friends  remonstrated  in 
vain,  pleading  that  they  were  leaving  a  certainty  in  a  land 
where  any  good  doctor  (if  he  did  not  die  in  the  trying)  was 
sure  to  make  a  respectable  competency.  Mrs.  Burnett,  who 
had  firmly  resolved  not  to  accept  such  drudgery  for  either 
her  husband  or  herself,  worked  through  that  one  year  with 
a  will  and  concentration  that,  had  she  not  been  blessed  with 
a  splendid  constitution,  would  doubtless  have  cost  her  life. 

While  the  doctor  was  on  his  long,  weary  rides  to  see  his 
poor  patients  his  wife  was  weaving  with  her  pen  the  pathetic 
stories  that  made  the  readers  weep,  and  the  world  begin  to 
inquire  "  Who  is  she  ?"  With  hands  often  burning  with  fever, 
and  head  throbbing  with  excitement,  she  daily  sat  by  her 
table.  Under  such  circumstances  she  wrote  in  about  fifteen 
months  "  That  Lass  o'  Lowrie's,"  "  Pretty  Polly  Pemberton," 
"  The  Fire  at  Grantley  Mills,"  and  "  The  Fortunes  of  Philippa 
Fairfax." 

Effecting  a  favorable  engagement  with  her  considerate 
friend,  Mr.  Peterson,  the  little  family,  —  husband,  wife,  baby 
and  black  "Mammy,"  —  started  on  their  tour;  and  in  this 
crisis  our  brave  woman,  our  admired  writer,  rivals  in  heroism 
the  knights  of  old,  made  famous  in  song  and  story.  They 
were  armed  cap-a-pie* ;  she,  with  fearless  exaltation  born  of 
love  and  hope,  dared  more  than  they  in  all  their  fine,  vaulting 
bravado.  First  they  went  to  Manchester,  then  to  London, 
Rotterdam,-  Utrecht,  and  Dusseldorf — the  last  two  cities 
being  selected  with  a  view  to  the  advantages  afforded  the 
doctor  in  his  studies. 

They  spent  the  autumn  in  Rome,  going  to  Paris  in  the 
winter,  and  in  both  cities  the  studies  of  the  husband  and  the 
writing  of  the  wife  were  continued.  In  Paris,  she  wrote 
"  Smethurstses,"  "Seth,"  and  other  stories.  In  this  city,  in 


168  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

the  spring,  a  second  son,  Vivian,  was  born  to  them.  In  the 
summer  of  1876  they  returned  to  the  home  of  the  doctor's 
father,  in  New  Market,  and  Doctor  Burnett  determined  to 
establish  himself  in  Washington.  It  was  six  months  before 
affairs  financial  justified  the  removal  of  the  rest  of  the  family. 
Mrs.  Burnett,  with  her  two  children,  spent  the  interim  in  the 
quiet  Tennessee  village  of  New  Market ;  but  she  was  not 
idle.  She  wrote  "Lodusky,"  "  Esmeralda,"  "  Mere  Giraud's 
Little  Daughter,"  etc.,  etc. 

For  nearly  a  year  after  joining  her  husband  in  Washington 
they  lived  quite  obscurely  and  plainly  in  the  West  End.  Her 
children  were  a  great  care,  and  through  months  of  weakness, 
she  lived  a  life  of  almost  utter  hopelessness  in  this  city, 
where  soon  her  name  was  known  in  every  household. 

In  a  short  time  she  began  her' work  with  renewed  deter- 
mination,  sending  "  Louisiana  "  to  "  Scribner's,"  and  "  A  Fair 
Barbarian "  to  "  Peterson's  Magazine,"  and  writing  "  Ha- 
worths,"  a  work  which,  though  it  never  attained  the  popu- 
larity of  "  That  Lass  o'  Lowrie's,"  is  undoubtedly,  as  an  ex- 
ample of  literary  art,  the  finest  she  ever  produced,  and  the 
rival  of  any  romantic  creation  in  the  New  World.  In  1878 
the  family  removed  to  the  pleasant  house  which  they  now 
occupy,  1215  I  street,  and  Mrs.  Burnett  has  a  large  circle  of 
devoted  personal  friends.  Nor  is  her  accomplished  husband 
less  popular.  Their  home  is  one  of  luxury,  though  not  ex- 
travagance, filled  with  works  of  art,  handsome  hangings,  and 
interesting  bric-a-brac.  Upon  entering  the  hall  the  fact  ap- 
pears that  it  is  the  abode  of  refinement  and  culture.  Here 
the  visitor  at  the  Capital  seeks  to  know  the  writer  whose  pen 
has  furnished  so  many  hours  of  pleasure ;  and  here  they  are 
met  with  such  a  genial  welcome  and  such  hospitality  that 
even  the  most  shy  are  placed  at  perfect  ease.  The  doctor, 
who  delights  in  art,  has  collected  old  engravings  and  fine 
etchings  ;  and  he  often  surprises  his  wife  with  a  vase  of  roses, 
or  a  bunch  of  field-flowers,  painted,  as  he  says,  by  an  unknown 
artist, — in  whom  she  is  quick  to  recognize  himself.  It  is  a 
home  free  from  the  iron  rule  of  conventionality,  and  though 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  169 

not  "  Vagabondia,"  is  the  outgrowth, — as  far  as  the  environ- 
ments of  a  city  allow, — of  such  freedom.  Each  Tuesday 
evening  in  the  season  the  parlor  is  filled  with  visitors,  a  large 
proportion  being  strangers.  For  a  year  or  so  Mrs.  Burnett, 
with  her  genial  nature,  essayed  to  take  up  the  burden  of 
social  life  in  Washington,  but  it  was  too  great  a  burden,  es- 
pecially as  the  demands  of  the  busy  pen  were  not  less  exact- 
ing; —  indeed,  rather  more,  now  that  the  boys  grew  rapidly, 
and  luxuries  were  added  to  necessities.  Mrs.  Burnett's  work- 
room is  known  as  the  "  Den,"  and  to  the  favored  few  who 
are  received  into  its  privacy  the  very  mention  will  recall  the 
delightful  home  circle  and  agreeable  friends  met  there. 
Early  each  morning  Mrs.  Burnett  seats  herself  at  her  table 
and  writes  until  noon.  Mood, — not  even  health — is  con- 
sulted. If  she  is  in  happy  mental  frame,  the  hours  are  not 
heeded,  and  the  sentences  flow  freely  from  her  pen ;  if  not, 
the  afternoon  is  given  to  recreation,  walks,  drives,  and  visit- 
ing. The  evenings,  except  those  of  the  more  formal  Tues- 
days, are  spent  in  the  "Den,"  and  "the  children's  hour" 
there  is  one  to  be  remembered.  There,  to  amuse  two  rest- 
less  boys,  were  improvised  "The  Proud  Little  Grain  of 
Wheat,"  "Editha's  Burglar,"  "Behind  the  White  Brick,"  and 
other  stories  that  have  delighted  the  juvenile  readers  of  "  SL 
Nicholas."  Here,  too,  she  has  recently  completed  "  Through 
One  Administration." 

The  world  has  set  its  critical  seal  upon  the  productions 
of  this  woman  of  genius,  and  should  she  never  write  an- 
other word  of  fiction,  the  fame  of  Frances  Hodgson  Burnett 
will  rest  secure  upon  "  That  Lass  o'  Lowrie's,"  "  Haworths," 
w  Smethurstses,"  and  "  Louisiana."  Having  written  these, 
she  must  remain  her  own  rival. 

Of  poetry  Mrs.  Burnett  has  published  but  little ;  occa- 
sionally a  short  poem  appears  from  her  hand — such  as  "Yes- 
terday and  To-day,"  —  so  exquisite  as  to  make  us  ask  for 
more.  At  the  Garfield  Memorial  of  the  "Literary  Society," 
Washington,  D.C.,  she  read  a  poem  that  will  never  be  for- 
gotten by  those  who  were  present.  As  neighbor  and  friend, 


170  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

President  Garfield  had  been  much  beloved,  and  this  was  a 
heart  utterance  which,  indeed,  rose  to  the  heroic :  — 

"  We  cry,  but  he  who  suffers  lies 
Meeting  sharp-weaponed  pain  with  steadfast  eyes, 
And  makes  no  plaint ;  while  on  the  threshold  Death 
Half  draws  his  keen  sword  from  its  glittering  sheath, 
And  looking  inward,  pauses  —  lingering  long  — 
Faltering  —  himself  the  weak  before  the  strong." 

*  A  Woman's  Reason,"  which  appeared  in  the  "  Century  n 
January,  1883,  gives  a  happy  portrayal  of  a  woman's  heart 
by  a  woman's  hand :  — 

"  And  now  my  hand  clings  closer  to  your  breast ; 
Bend  your  head  lower,  while  I  say  the  rest  — 
The  greatest  change  of  all  is  this,  —  that  I 
Who  used  to  be  so  cold,  so  fierce,  so  shy, 
In  the  sweet  moment  that  I  feel  you  near, 
Forget  to  be  ashamed  and  know  no  fear  — 
Forget  that  life  is  sad  and  death  is  drear  — 
Because  —  because  I  love  you." 

If  called  upon  to  discriminate  as  to  the  characteristics  of 
this  eminent  woman  I  should  call  her  personal  courage  the 
most  distinguishing.  She  is  delicate  in  her  womanly  instincts, 
modest  in  valuing  her  literary  achievements,  socially  not 
ambitious  of  display,  and  right  feminine  in  all  her  pleasures 
and  avocations,  yet  possessing  a  coolness  and  courage  in  an 
emergency  which  is  not  generally  a  female  attribute. 

A  paragraph  which  appeared  two  years  since  in  the  daily 
papers  describing  her  rescue  at  Long  Beach  of  Mr.  Larz 
Anderson  of  Cincinnati,  was  not  overstated.  Mrs.  Burnett, 
with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Anderson,  were  walking  on  the  beach 
ready  to  have  an  early  morning  swim  in  the  Inlet.  Mr. 
Anderson  declared  his  intention  of  diving  from  the  bridge 
—  a  purpose  he  had  several  times  declared.  His  wife  had 
doubts  as  to  its  safety ;  but  he  was  determined  to  try  it. 
The  two  ladies  saw  the  plunge,  and  in  an  instant  a  white 
face  appeared  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  then  went  down. 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BUKNETT.  171 

The  frightened  wife  ran  for  assistance,  and  Mrs.  Burnett,  who 
was  that  summer  learning  to  swim,  dashed  into  the  waves 
and  swam  rapidly  to  him.  The  helpless  form,  —  for,  as  may 
be  surmised,  his  head  had  struck  a  rock,  —  was  going  under 
for  the  third  time.  She  clutched  him,  and  putting  forth  all 
her  strength  reached  the  beach  with  her  still  insensible  bur- 
den, and,  with  a  power  almost  superhuman,  bore  him  across 
the  stretch  of  sand  to  a  grass-plot,  where  Mrs.  Anderson 
had  brought  assistance  and  restoratives.  The  friendship 
based  on  this  incident  has  grown  to  be  one  of  the  pleasantest 
associations  of  this  heroic  woman. 

Dress  has  abundant  attraction  for  her.  She  enjoys  it  artis- 
tically, and  has  an  honest  delight  in  a  new  gown.  This  is  not 
really  an  individual  consideration,  but  a  part  of  the  love  she 
has  for  all  that  is  beautiful  in  art  or  nature.  She  fancies 
working  in  dainty  lace,  adjusting  bows  on  robe  or  hat,  and 
is  apt  to  give  all  such  detail  as  far  as  possible  her  personal 
attention.  She  is  aesthetic  in  all  her  belongings,  and  in  her 
own  boudoir  every  nook  and  corner  indicates  the  fancies  of 
its  occupant,  or  the  thought  of  her  husband,  who,  with  pic 
ture  or  bric-a-brac,  adds  frequently  to  her  collection  of 
novelties. 

Mrs.  Burnett  is  modest  in  her  estimate  of  her  achievements  ; 
while  she  listens  to  words  of  praise,  she  is  not  embariassed, 
but  pleasantly  surprised,  and  often  says  that  when  met  with 
more  than  ordinary  effusiveness  she  accepts  it  as  absolutely 
impersonal,  as  though  it  was  some  other  writer  of  whom  they 
are  speaking. 

Although  she  is  certainly  not  indifferent  to  criticism,  she  is 
philosophical,  accepting  the  abuse  and  the  approval  with 
equanimity;  freely  discussing  reviews  in  her  home  circle, — 
yet  I  feel  at  liberty  to  say  that  nothing  yields  her  greater 
happiness  than  a  realization  that  she  has  given  solace  or 
enjoyment  to  so  many.  I  remember  one  evening  just  at 
twilight  I  went  in  to  sit  an  hour  with  her.  As  soon  as  she 
saw  me  she  called  to  her  husband,  "  Please  light  the  <ras, 
doctor;  \  want  to  show  my  beautiful  present."  The  light 


172  FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT. 

revealed  thrown  across  her  on  the  lounge  a  rare  India  shawl, 
a  gem  full  a  hundred  years  old,  as  was  told  by  the  delicate  color 
and  antique  pattern  ;  "  Made  when  men  loved  art  for  art's  sake,'' 
wrote  the  donor,  an  elderly  gentleman,  an  entire  stranger, 
who  begged  its  acceptance  as  some  recognition  of  the  pleas- 
ure he  had  received  in  reading  "Louisiana."  When  I  read 
aloud  his  beautiful  letter,  in  which  he  modestly  claimed  some 
soul  kinship  with  the  pathetic  old  father  in  the  mountains  of 
North  Carolina,  "  Tho'  a  little  more  polish  had  been  given  me 
some  forty  years  ago,"  she  was  deeply  touched,  and  said, 
"  That  repays  me  many  times  for  days  of  labor  and  hours  of 
discouragement. " 

Graceful  recognition  of  pleasure  received  and  much  grate- 
ful expression  come  to  the  successful  story-teller,  —  yet  I 
doubt  if  ever  an  offering  went  more  directly  to  her  heart.  She 
receives  countless  confidences,  particularly  from  young  women 
who  indulge  in  literary  aspirations,  with  enclosed  manuscript 
for  criticism.  Daily  applications  for  autographs  come,  and 
letters  of  inquiry  and  approval.  To  all  this,  as  far  as  time  or 
strength  permit,  she  has  conscientiously  endeavored  to  send 
answers;  not  failing  to  encourage,  if  it  be  possible,  young 
writers -r- well  remembering  the  worth  of  such  kindness. 
Her  capacity  for  work  must  be  illustrated  by  a  plain  state- 
ment. In  little  more  than  seven  years  she  has  given  the 
world  five  novels,  a  large  number  of  short  stories,  several 
children's  stories,  and  the  dramatization  of  "  Esmeralda." 
During  this  time  there  were  often  months  in  which  she  wras 
seriously  indisposed  with  nervous  prostration.  Meantime 
domestic  and  social  duties  were  not  disregarded.  There  is 
nothing,  by  the  way,  in  which  she  can  accomplish  so  much  as 
working,  unless  it  be  playing  —  upon  which  she  enters  with  a 
zest  that  is  charming.  This,  a  happy  heritage,  is  often  the 
blessing  given  to  true  genius,  a  blessing  which  renews  the 
strength  and  keeps  the  heart  young. 

Although  of  English  birth,  the  work  of  Mrs.  Burnett  has 
so  identified  her  with  and  endeared  her  to  the  country  of 
her  adoption  that  she  may  be  proudly  claimed  by  the  New 


FRANCES  HODGSON  BURNETT.  173 

World.  In  physique  she  is  decidedly  of  English  type, 
well-formed,  graceful  —  usually  she  rejoices  in  excellent 
health.  She  is  a  blonde  of  rich  tint,  with  dark  bluish-gray 
eyes,  that  are  full  of  varying  expression,  —  so  intense  do 
they  sometimes  become  that  they  have  been  described  as 
black.  Her  head  is  shapely  and  well  poised  ;  nose  straight 
and  finely  cut,  nostrils  thin  and  sensitive,  while  the  firm  chin 
and  decisive  mouth  are  full  of  character.  In  manner  she  is 
utterly  free  from  affectation,  though  sometimes  forgetful  and 
abstracted.  She  has  a  fund  of  small  talk  for  an  idle  hour, 
and  of  humor  an  abundant  supply,  with  most  happy  apprecia- 
tion of  it  in  others.  While  in  writing  her  pathos  is  so  touch- 
ing as  to  overshadow  the  vein  of  humor  threading  her  pages, 
in  conversation  humor  predominates.  She  is  endowed  with 
a  large  degree  of  magnetism,  and  above  all  she  has  charms  for 
her  own  sex.  The  highest  eulogy  that  may  be  pronounced  on 
a  woman  is  when  it  can  be  said  "  Women  love  her,"  and  this 
can  with  truth  be  said  of  Mrs.  Burnett.  Those  who  know  her 
well  have  much  reason  to  love  her.  In  temper  she  is  delight- 
fully amiable  and  ready  in  sympathy.  I  have  endeavored  not 
needlessly  to  intrude  upon  the  sacred  precincts  of  home,  but 
if  I  had  yielded  to  the  temptation  and  related  incidents 
known  to  me,  this  brave-hearted  woman  of  genius  would 
indeed  appear  what  she  is  —  a  heroine  in  real  life.  A  life  so 
loving  in  all  its  ties,  so  exalted  in  duty,  so  full  of  good  work, 
so  responsive  to  every  call,  so  replete  in  wide-reaching 
sympathy,  she  with  all  her  power  of  characterization  has 
never  presented  in  romance. 


CHAPTER  VIII. 
EOSE    TEKEY    COOKE. 

BY  HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD. 

Rose  Terry  Cooke's  Ancestry  —  Her  Description  of  an  Old-Fashioned  Thanks- 
giving—  Scenes  in  Her  Childhood  —  A  Picture  of  Old  New  England 
Life  —  Her  Deep  Love  of  Nature  —  Passion  for  Flowers  —  School-life 

—  Reading  at  the  Age  of  Three  —  Inimitable  Skill  in  Depicting  New- 
England  Life  and  Character —  Her  Bright  Humor  and  Keen  Sense  of 
the  Ridiculous  —  Beginning  Her  Literary  Career  —  Opening  of  Her  Genius 

—  A  Novel  Incident  in  Plymouth  Church  —  The  Story  of  an  Opal  Ring — 
How  a  Little  Slave-Child  was  made  Free  — A  Romantic  Story  — Odd 
Experiences  with  Impostors  and  Counterfeiters  —  Mrs.  Cooke's  Power  of 
Mimicry  —  Her  Home  and  Domestic  Life  —  A  Woman  of  Rare  Genius. 

QUARTER  of  a  century  ago,  most  of  us  can 
recall  the  joyous  pride  with  which  the  birth  of 
the  "Atlantic  Monthly"  was  hailed,  and  the 
eagerness  with  which  each  number  was  antici- 
pated. Into  what  charming  company  it  took 
us  !  There  the  Autocrat  of  the  Breakfast-table 
held  his  genial  sway ;  Motley  fought  over  the 
"  Battle  of  Lepanto  " ;  Colonel  Higginson  led  us 
into  the  woods  of  "April  Days"  and  among  the 
"  Water-Lilies  "  of  August  in  his  series  of  wondrous 
out-door  studies ;  Anne  Whitney  came  with  poems  of  a 
loftier  reach  and  fuller  grasp  than  any  other  woman  has  ever 
given  the  world ;  the  "  Minister's  Wooing  "  took  up  its  placid 
way ;  that  brilliant  tale,  the  "  Queen  of  the  Red  Chessmen," 
delighted  the  fancy  and  promised  a  new  type  of  fiction ;  the 
"  Man  without  a  Country  "  deceived  a  wilderness  of  readers 
into  tears  ;  Emerson  sang  of  "  Brahma,"  Longfellow  of  "  San- 
dalphon,"  and  Whittier  sang  the  "  Swan-song  of  Parson 
Avery " ;  Frank  Underwood  stretched  his  kind  hand  to  the 
unknown  ;  and  James  Russell  Lowell's  genius  welded  the 
varying  elements  into  a  harmonious  whole. 
174 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  175 

In  this  gracious  company,  too,  came  Rose  Terry,  with  the 
leading  story  of  the  first  number ;  and  as  story  followed 
story,  each  better  than  the  other,  she  kindled  the  ambition 
and  had  the  felicitation  of  every  other  young  woman  who 
turned  the  pages  throughout  the  country,  —  for  most  of  us 
felt  as  if  all  girlhood  were  honored  in  her  who  carried  her 
light  before  men  with  such  proud  strength  and  beauty. 

We  knew  but  little  about  her  in  those  days,  for  personal- 
ities had  not  grown  to  rule  us.  We  only  knew  that  she  lived 
in  Connecticut,  and  had  already  published  a  story,  in  the 
palmy  days  of  "Putnam's  Monthly,"  called  "The  Mormon's 
Wife,"  which  dealt  powerfully  with  the  leprosy  of  Mormon- 
ism,  and  wrung  from  the  heart  tears  dried  only  by  the  heat  of 
indignation.  Any  one  who  now  reads  that  old  story  will  be 
as  much  moved  by  it  as  its  first  readers  were, —  will  com- 
prehend that  stronger  yet  more  delicate  argument  was  never 
made  against  the  iniquity  which  would  undermine  that  whole 
foundation  of  civilization,  the  family,  —  tearing  the  hearts  of 
women  and  debasing  the  souls  of  men,  —  and  must  needs  ask 
how  so  young  a  person  knew  the  deep  springs  of  feeling  that 
play  there,  unless  it  is  true  that  the  experience  of  years 
teaches  less  than  the  intuitions  of  genius. 

It  is  genius  that  informs  every  line  Rose  Terry  has  ever 
written,  —  a  pure  and  lofty  genius  that  burned  with  a  white 
flame  in  such  subtle  metaphysical  reveries  as  "  My  Tenants," 
and  "  Did  I?"  and  showed  its  many-colored  light  in  brief  bits 
of  poetic  romance,  and  in  a  succession  of  stories  of  New 
England  life.  One  marvels  how  such  a  genius  became  the 
ultimate  expression  of  generations  of  hard  Puritan  ancestry, 
as  one  marvels  to  see  after  silent  flowerless  years  some  dry 
and  prickly  cactus-stem  burst  out  into  its  sudden  flaming 
flower. 

Rose  Terry  Cooke  came  of  undoubted  and  undiluted  Puritan 
blood,  which  is  to  be  found  nowhere  bluer  than  in  Connec- 
ticut. Her  mother  was  Anne  Wright  Hurlbut,  the  daughter 
of  John  Hurlbut  of  Wethersfield,  Connecticut,  the  first  New 
England  shipmaster  who  sailed  round  the  world,  and  a  man 


176  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

who  subsequently  lost  his  life  caring  for  the  sick  during  an 
epidemic.  He  left  his  daughter  an  orphan  in  her  ninth  year  ; 
and  she  grew  up  beautiful,  tender,  delicate,  shrinking,  unde- 
monstrative from  principle,  and  with  a  morbid  conscience. 
She  married  Henry  Wads  worth  Terry,  the  son  of  Nathaniel 
Terry,  president  of  a  Hartford  Bank,  and  for  some  time  a 
member  of  Congress. 

Henry  Wads  worth  Terry  was  a  man  of  great  information, 
a  social  favorite,  sensitive,  generous,  and  open-hearted.  On 
his  mother's  side  he  belonged  to  the  old  Wadsworth  stock, 
from  which  the  poet  Longfellow  descended,  his  immediate 
ancestor  in  this  country  having  been  the  Hon.  William  Wads- 
worth,  dated  at  Cambridge,  1632,  and  at  Hartford,  1636; 
and  his  uncle,  several  times  removed,  having  been  that  Joseph 
Wadsworth  who  stole  the  Charter  and  ennobled  the  oak-tree 
for  all  time  to  come,  and  who  had  a  descendant  of  his  own 
spirit  in  General  Terry  of  Fort  Fisher  and  Pulaski  fame,  the 
cousin  of  Kose. 

Rose  was  born  on  the  17th  of  February,  1827,  on  a 
farm,  where  her  father  and  mother  then  lived,  a  half-dozen 
miles  from  Hartford,  to  which  city,  when  the  child  had 
reached  her  sixth  year,  they  removed,  taking  up  their  resi- 
dence in  a  large  brick  mansion  built  in  1799  by  ColonelJere- 
miah  Wadsworth  for  his  daughter,  and  at  that  time  the  best 
house  in  Hartford,  except  another  just  like  it  which  he  built 
for  his  son. 

It  is  of  the  life  and  manners  in  this  house  that  she  speaks 
in  a  little  sketch,  faithful  as  a  Flemish  picture,  in  which  she 
narrates  to  a  child  of  the  family  the  old-fashioned  Thanks- 
giving doings  in  her  grandmother's  kitchen,  with  the  green 
knotty  glass  of  its  window-panes  through  which  she  watched 
the  pigeons  and  the  cats,  and  with  its  immense  fireplace  :  — 

"  It  was  very  wide  indeed,  —  so  wide  you  could  sit  in  each 
corner  and  look  up  the  chimney  to  the  sky.  The  fire  was  in 
the  middle,  and  was  made  of  big  logs  piled  up  on  great  iron 
andirons.  Over  it  was  an  iron  thing  called  a  crane,  a  flat, 
strong  bar  that  swung  off  and  on,  so  you  could  put  on  the 


ROSE    TERRY    COOKE. 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  179 

kettles  without  burning  your  arms  in  the  flame,  and  then 
swing  them  back  to  their  place.  They  were  hung  on  hooks, 
and  those  hooks  put  into  short  chains  that  had  other  hooks 
which  held  them  on  the  crane,  so  the  pot-hooks  could  be  put 
in  higher  or  lower,  just  as  was  needed.  There  was  a  bake- 
kettle  stood  in  one  corner  of  the  chimney,  and  a  charcoal 
furnace  in  the  other,  so  that  you  could  cook  a  great  many 
tilings  at  once. 

"  What  fun  we  children  did  have  at  that  fireplace  when  the 
cook  was  good-natured.  We  used  to  tie  apples  to  strings, 
and  then  fasten  the  strings  to  the  shelf  above  and  see  the 
apples  twirl  and  roast  and  drip  into  saucers.  We  used  to 
melt  loaf-sugar  into  little  wire-baskets  tied  to  just  such 
strings,  and  see  it  drop  into  buttered  pans,  making  cakes  of 
cleaf  amber  candy.  We  thawed  frozen  apples  in  the  dish- 
kettle,  and  roasted  ears  of  corn  by  leaning  them  against  the 
andirons.  We  always  begged  the  pigs'  tails  at  'killing-time,' 
and,  rolling  them  in  brown  paper,  baked  them  in  the  hot 
ashes.  They  never  were  good,  nobody  ever  ate  them ;  but 
we  persisted  in  doing  it  year  after  year." 

Then  she  tells  us  what  Monday  was  in  this  great  kitchen  on 
the  week  in  question,  and  Tuesday,  and  Wednesday,  when, 
"  if  I  was  good,  I  was  allowed  to  tuck  myself  into  a  corner, 
and  look  on,  and  run  of  errands.  I  went  for  nutmegs,  for 
cinnamon,  for  pie-dishes ;  for  more  sugar,  for  milk,  and 
spoons,  and  spices ;  but  I  was  more  than  paid  if  I  could 
only  watch  grandmother  roll  the  thin  crust  out,  lay  it  neatly 
over  the  dishes,  shave  off  the  edge  close,  and  then,  after 
filling  it  with  the  red,  or  yellow,  or  creamy  mixture  before 
her  in  big  bowls,  cut  strips  of  paste  with  the  dough-spur,  and 
ornament  their  surfaces.  What  a  work  of  skill  it  was  to  set 
those  pies  in  the  oven  and  never  spill  a  drop  or  slop  the 
broad  edges  of  crust  and  leave  a  smear  !  How  deliciously  they 
smelt  when  they  came  out  glazed  and  crisp  and  fit  to  melt  in 
your  mouth,  like  the  cream-tarts  of  Bedredden  Hassan  ! " 

It  was  here  that  Rose  learned  how  to  become  the  faultless 
housekeeper  and  accomplished  cook  that  she  is,  and  to  prao- 


180  ROSE  TERRY  COOKK 

tise  an  abounding  hospitality  in  her  own  house.  "  Now  the 
guests  might  come,  and  come  they  did,  —  some  from  the  river- 
boat  where  they  had  spent  a  long  dreary  day ;  some  from 
the  stage  that  rattled  and  rumbled  up  to  the  door  and  un- 
loaded there  more  bundles  and  babies  than  it  ought  to  have 
held.  And  oh,  what  fun  it  was  to  hear  the  house  ring  with 
fresh  voices  ;  to  see  our  dear  handsome  old  grandfather  wel- 
coming them  all  so  heartily  ;  to  hear  fires  crackle  in  the  spare 
rooms  and  in  the  drawing-room ;  to  see  the  tea-table  with  an 
extra  leaf  for  extra  guests ;  and  see  them  all  enjoy  the 
bread  and  butter,  the  loaf-cake,  the  cookies,  the  dried  beef, 
the  pears  and  cream  that  nobody  ever  got  so  nice  anywhere 
but  at  grandmother's  house ;  and  then  there  was  the  last 
delight  of  the  day,  to  see  mother,  just  as  I  was  dropping  off 
into  sleep,  standing  close  to  the  lamp  to  baste  a  bit  of  old 
lace  into  the  throat  of  my  green  merino  dress,  and  pin  on  the 
front  her  own  little  pin  of  rough  Carolina  gold. 

"  But  the  next  day  is  Thanksgiving.  Grandfather  is  down- 
stairs early,  and  has  a  big  bright  fire  all  ready ;  and  there 
is  sweet,  gentle  Aunt  Clara  with  the  last  baby  beside  her 
knee,  and  a  smile  and  a  kiss  for  all  of  us ;  there  are  half  a 
dozen  cousins  and  five  or  six  other  aunts  and  uncles ;  and 
I  get  into  a  corner  silent  and  shy.  I  love  them  all,  but  I 
could  not  say  so,  possibly.  So  I  get  out  of  sight  all  I  can, 
swallow  my  breakfast  and  am  happily  at  play  under  the  table, 
with  paper  boats  and  handkerchief  babies,  and  my  dearest 
cousin  Taf,  the  best  boy  in  the  world,  I  think,  when  mother 
comes  for  me  to  be  washed  and  dressed  and  go  to  church. 
Taf  is  a  big  man  now,  and  a  general.  He  has  taken  forts, 
and  conquered  rebels,  and  been  trailed  about  the  world  from 
pillar  to  post,  and  been  praised  in  the  newspapers  and  hon- 
ored by  the  country; — but  I  asked  him,  not  long  ago,  if 
he  remembered  how  we  played  boats  under  the  table,  and  he 
laughed  and  said  he  did. 

"  I'm  sorry  to  say  I  didn't  like  to  be  washed  and  dressed 
and  go  to  church.  My  nose  was  always  rubbed  up,  and  soap 
got  into  my  eyes,  and  my  hair  was  braided  in  dreadfully 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  181 

tight  pig-tails.  I  wanted  to  stay  at  home,  and  see  the  big 
turkey  roasted  in  the  roaster.  I  should  have  liked  to  baste 
him  through  the  lid  behind  and  turn  him  on  the  spit.  I 
wanted  to  help  stick  cloves  into  the  cold  ham  and  score  the 
mashed  potato  before  it  was  put  to  brown  in  the  reflector ; 
but  I  had  to  go  to  church  for  all  that,  in  my  plum-colored 
pelisse  and  the  pea-green  silk  hood  lined  with  pink  and  edged 
with  squirrel  fur,  that  was  made  for  us  out  of  a  piece  of  old 
Aunt  Eunice's  petticoat.  She  left  two  of  them,  one  sky-blue 
and  one  pea-green,  quilted  in  flowers  and  scrolls  in  the  most 
elegant  manner,  — and  they  made  beautiful  hoods. 

"But  then  there  was  church.  We  sat  in  a  square  pew  close 
by  the  pulpit,  and  when  the  long  prayer  came  I  always  got 
up  on  the  seat  and  knelt  down  and  looked  out  of  the  window 
into  the  graveyard.  There  were  two  tombstones  under  the 
window,  very  small  and  brown,  with  a  disagreeable  cherub's 
head  on  each  of  them,  and  letters  to  tell  about  Mr.  Joseph 
Hancox  and  two  little  sons,  from  New  Hampshire,  lying 
there.  I  used  to  wonder  if  they  liked  it  to  be  buried  there, 
and  have  burdocks  grow  over  them.  I  never  did  like  bur- 
docks. 

"  It  seemed  to  me  very  hard  that  we  had  to  go  to  church 
on  a  week-day.  But  I  suppose  they  wanted  us  out  of  the  way 
at  home.  For  when  we  got  back  there  was  the  long  table  all 
set  out  with  silver,  and  glass,  and  china ;  the  big  bunch  of 
celery  in  the  middle  in  its  sparkling  glass  vase ;  the  moulds 
of  crimson  cranberry  at  the  corners  ;  decanters  of  bright  wine 
at  either  end ;  the  ham  starred  with  cloves  at  one  side,  and 
a  pair  of  cold  tongues  at  the  other ;  little  dishes  of  pickled 
mushrooms,  mangoes,  and  butternuts  standing  interspersed 
about ;  and  on  the  sideboard  such  an  array  of  pies,  and 
jellies,  and  nuts,  and  apples,  and  almonds,  and  raisins,  as 
might  make  four  desserts  to-day.  But  then  people  liked  to 
eat  and  drink.  They  had  open  fires  and  rattling  windows, 
and  so  plenty  of  fresh  air. 

"There  was  grandfather  in  his  knee-breeches  and  queer 
old-fashioned  coat,  with  all  the  children  clustering  and  clam- 


182  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

bering  round  him  ;  there  was  grandmother,  with  her  brown 
silk  dress  and  best  cap  on,  ruffles  of  soft  thread-lace  about 
her  face  and  throat,  the  pretty  young  aunts  dressed  for  the 
day,  and  the  married  aunts  talking  to  each  other  about  their 
children,  and  servants,  and  clothes,  much  as  married  aunts  do 
still ;  and  there  were  the  uncles  looking  a  little  as  if  they 
wished  the  dinner  would  hurry.  And  last  of  all,  there  was 
one  little  table  —  for  we  children  always  had  a  table  to  our- 
selves —  with  a  set  of  small  pies  on  it.  And  sometimes  I  sat 
at  the  head,  if  Kate  was  not  there,  for  she  was  older  than  I ; 
but  Quent  always  sat  at  the  foot,  being  always  there  and  the 
oldest  of  us  all.  What  fun  we  had  ;  and  how  hard  it  was 'to 
say  what  we  would  have  to  eat,  for  we  could  not  eat  every- 
thing. And  by  this  time  the  table  was  loaded  with  turkey, 
and  roast  ducks,  and  chicken  pie,  and  stewed  salsify,  and 
celery  sauce,  and  gravies,  besides  all  the  cold  meats ;  and  I 
knew  mother's  beautiful  dark  eyes  kept  good  watch  over  her 
little  daughter's  plate,  for  fear  of  next  day's  headache,  for 
even  then  I  had  headaches." 

This  little  transcript  is  valuable  not  only  as  giving  scenes 
in  the  childhood  of  Rose,  but  as  a  picture  that  is  nowhere 
else,  that  I  am  aware  of,  given  so  faithfully  and  vividly  of  the 
daily  life  of  the  period  it  treats,  for  there  is  much  of  it  that  I 
have  not  quoted. 

How  fond  she  is  of  those  old  places  and  people  now  long 
gone,  and  how  she  loves  to  delay  and  dally  with  them. 

"  A  garden  full  of  all  old-fashioned  blooms  lay  about  the 
wide  front  door  and  south  of  the  side  entrance.  Old  pear- 
trees,  knotty  and  awkward,  but  veiled  always  in  the  spring 
with  snowy  blossoms,  and  hung  thereafter  with  golden  fruit, 
shaded  a  little  the  formal  flower-beds  where  grew  tulips, 
lifting  scarlet  and  golden  cups,  or  creamy  chalices  striped 
white,  and  pink,  and  purple,  toward  the  sun ;  peonies  round 
and  flaunting ;  ragged  robins  ;  flowering  almond  that  bloomed 
like  Aaron's  rod  with  myriads  of  tiny  roses  on  a  straight 
stick;  fleur-de-lis  with  languid  and  royal  banners  of  blue, 
white,  or  gold ;  flowering  currant,  its  prim  yellow  blossoms 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  183 

breathing  out  spice  to  the  first  spring  winds ;  snowdrops, 
original  and  graceful ;  hyacinths,  crocuses,  jonquils,  nar- 
cissus, dafladowndillys ;  velvet  and  parti-colored  roses,  the 
rich  buds  of  Provence  and  moss,  the  lavish  garlands  of  the 
old  white  rose,  and  the  delicate  odorous  damask.  Why 
should  I  catalogue  them?  Yet  they  all  rise  crowding  on 
my  memory,  and  the  air  swims  with  their  odors.  .  .  .  The 
smooth-cheeked  crisp  apricots  ripened  against  the  wall ; 
bell-pears,  — a  fruit  passed  out  of  modern  reach,  a  won- 
drous compound  of  sugar,  and  wine,  and  fragrance, — 
dropped  in  the  rank  grass  ;  peaches  that  are  known  no  more 
to  man,  great  rose-flushed  globes  of  honey  and  perfume  that 
set  the  very  wasps  crazy,  drooped  the  slight  trees  to  earth 
with  their  gracious  burden ;  cherries  and  plums  strewed  the 
ground,  and  were  wasted  from  mere  profusion  ;  curculio  was 
a  stranger  in  the  land,  fire-blight  unknown,  yellows  a  myth, 
black-knot  never  tied,  and  the  hordes  of  ravaging  insects  yet 
unhatched ;  there  was  enough  for  men  and  robins ;  the  land 
was  full  of  food." 

How  she  delights  to  people  this  garden  and  its  house  with 
the  old  figures  that  belonged  there  —  there  is  something  touch- 
ing in  the  way  she  lingers  about  them ;  perhaps  the  figure 
of  the  distant  uncle  to  whose  inheritance  she  at  last  owes  that 
comfort  which  makes  her  in  a  measure  independent  of  pub- 
lishers, — perhaps  that  of  the  rosy,  wilful,  sweet,  high-spirited 
maiden  whose  "  very  self  has  come  back  to  earth  in  the  third 
generation,  romping,  blooming,  blue-eyed,  and  bewitching  as 
her  great-grandmother,  with  the  same  wide  clear  eyes  and 
softly  curving  lips,  the  imperious  frown,  broad  white  fore- 
head, and  careless  waving  hair,  that  charmed  the  eyes  of 
Rochambeau  and  Washington,  and  made  the  gay  and  gallant 
French  officers  clink  their  glasses  for  honor  of  little  Molly 
when  she  was  set  on  the  dining-table  with  dessert  to  drink  the 
general's  health  at  a  dinner-party.  Sitting  at  her  feet  on  a 
cricket  and  looking  up  at  the  wrinkled  face  and  ruffled  cap 
above  us,  it  seemed  more  incredible  than  any  wildest  fairy 
tales  that  she  should  ever  have  been  young  and  beautiful ; 
12 


184  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

but  her  picture,  taken  in  the  prime  of  womanhood,  attests 
with  its  noble  beauty  all  that  tradition  tells." 

Here,  too,  she  lingers  with  Mabel,  the.  old  great-great- 
grandmother,  stern,  self-reliant,  with  regular  features,  set 
lips,  and  keen,  cold,  gray  eyes.  "That  chill  and  steel,"  she 
says,  "come  out  here  and  there  among  her  descendants,  and 
temper,  perhaps  desirably,  the  facile  good-nature  and  bon- 
hommie  that  her  husband  bequeathed  also  among  us."  That 
husband  rode,  to  serve  his  country,  on  some  emergency,  till 
his  legs  were  so  swollen  with  the  fixed  position  and  fatigue 
that  it  was  necessary  to  fill  his  riding-boots  with  brandy 
before  they  could  be  forced  off. 

It  is  his  clothes  laid  up  in  the  garret,  the  clothes  of  the  old 
Wadsworth  of  the  Revolutionary  era,  worn  at  the  French 
court  and  other  less  regal  festivities,  that  were  wont  to  de- 
light Rose's  childish  fancy. 

"  How  goodly  were  those  ample  suits  of  Genoa  velvet,  — 
coats  whose  skirts  would  make  a  modern  garment,  with  silver 
buttons  wherever  buttons  could  be  sewed ;  breeches  with 
paste  buckles  at  the  knees,  so  bright  in  their  silver  setting 
that  my  childish  soul  secretly  cherished  a  hope  that  they 
might  possibly  be  diamonds  after  all ;  and  waistcoats  of  white 
satin,  embroidered  with  gold  or  silver,  tarnished,  it  is  true,  by 
time, —  but  what  use  is  an  imagination  only  eight  years  old  if 
the  mere  tarnish  of  eighty  years  counts  for  anything  in  its 
sight.  These  coats  were  wonderful  to  me  ;  —  how  wonderful 
would  they  not  be  in  the  streets  to-day  !  One  was  of  scarlet 
velvet,  with  a  silvery  frost  on  its  pile  like  the  down  on  a 
peach,  —  velvet  so  thick  that  I  pricked  my  fingers  painfully 
attempting  to  fashion  a  pincushion  out  of  a  fragment  thereof; 
another  was  purple,  with  a  plum-like  bloom  on  its  royal  tint, 
and  another  sober  gray  and  glittering  only  with  buttons  and 
buckles  of  cut  steel.  Think  how  a  goodly  and  personable 
man  dazzled  the  eyes  of  fair  ladies  in  those  days,  arrayed  like 
a  tulip,  with  shining  silk  stockings,  and  low  shoes  all  of  a 
sparkle  with  steel,  or  paste,  or  diamonds  ;  his  shapely  hands 
adorned  with  rich  lace  frills,  his  ample  bosom  and  muscular 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  185 

throat  blossoming  out  with  equally  soft  and  costly  garni- 
ture !  " 

Between  Rose  and  her  mother,  with  the  beautiful  dark  eyes 
she  spoke  of,  —  to  return  to  herself  after  this  glimpse  at  her 
ancestry, — there  existed  the  most  close  and  tender  relation 
in  a  tie  of  unusual  intimacy.  But  to  her  father  she  owes 
much  of  her  love  of  nature,  and  of  her  varied  knowledge 
of  its  manifestations.  It  was  he  that  taught  her  how  to 
study  the  clouds  and  the  stars,  flower  and  weed,  and  land- 
scape ;  it  was  he  that  taught  her  the  names  of  blossoms 
and  the  songs  of  birds,  so  that  there  seems  to  be  small 
sum  of  wildwood  lore  of  which  she  is  not  mistress.  An 
apt  little  pupil,  a  child  of  the  woods  in  which  she  lived  so 
much,  these  studies  were  after  her  own  heart,  —  she  stood 
once  nearly  an  hour,  as  silent  as  a  stone,  to  see  if  a  big,  burly 
bumble-bee,  buzzing  and  humming  about,  would  not  mistake 
her  for  a  flower  and  alight  upon  her.  She  can  tell  you  where 
to  find  the  partridge's  nest,  the  whippoorwill's  eggs  hidden  in 
dry  leaves,  the  humming-bird's  pearls ;  her  glance  knows  all 
the  difference  between  the  basket-nest  of  -the  vireo  hanging 
from  its  twig,  the  pensile  grossbeak's  swinging  over  the 
stream,  and  the  orchard  oriole's.  She  distinguishes  their 
notes,  and  as  if  she  understood  their  meaning;  she  knows 
the  "  faint  songs  of  blue-birds  closing  their  spring  serenades  in 
a  more  plaintive  key,  as  if  the  possible  accidents  of  hatching 
and  rearing  assailed  them  now  with  apprehension ; "  an  old 
acquaintance  of  hers  is  the  cat-bird,  "giving  his  gratuitous 
concert  from  the  topmost  twig  of  an  elm ;  "  and  it  is  she  that 
describes  "the  distant  passionately  mournful  lyric  of  the 
song-sparrows,  reserved  for  spring  alone,  as  if  a  soul  had 
merged  its  life  in  one  love,  and  in  its  deepest  intensity  and 
most  glowing  fervor  knew  through  all  that  the  love  was 
wasted  and  the  fervor  vain." 

All  the  wild-flowers  and  their  haunts  are  pre-eminently  hers, 
too.  She  knows  where  the  first  of  the  pink  moccasin-flowers 
hang  out  their  banners,  in  what  wet  spot  the  sweet  and  rare 
white  violets  hide  their  fragrances,  the  brookside  where  the 


186  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

cardinals  gather  the  later  heats  into  their  hues,  the  forgotten 
paths  where  the  shy-fringed  gentian  may  be  found,  and  the  field 
where  here  and  there  is  to  be  seen  "  a  vivid  fire-lily  holding 
its  stately  cup  of  flame  right  upward  to  the  ardent  sun,  as  if 
to  have  it  filled  with  splendor  and  overflowed  with  light ; " 
and  so  true  is  she  to  their  seasons,  as  if  she  felt  with  them 
the  life  that  pulses  up  through  the  old  earth  to  their  blossom- 
ing, that  if  she  said  the  wild-rose  wreathed  the  snowdrifts  of 
January,  I  should  believe  that  the  rest  of  the  world  had 
always  been  mistaken  regarding  that  particular  blossom. 
She  ought  to  know  about  roses,  anyway,  for  none  in  all  the 
country-side  bloom  more  beautifully  than  hers  do  in  the  little 
plots  where  she  is  a  famous  gardener  to-day.  Perhaps  it 
was  her  mother,  on  the  other  hand,  again,  who  taught  her 
the  love  of  man  and  woman  and  child,  the  knowledge  of 
human  nature  which  marks  every  word  she  utters,  and  from 
whom  she  inherited  that  innermost  poetry  of  being,  the  emo- 
tional delicacy  which  gilds  and  illumines  all  her  thoughts. 
She  was  a  delicate  child,  owing  to  an  early  illness,  so  severe 
an  illness  that  for  a  space  it  was  thought  she  had  really 
passed  away  from  life  ;  and  it  was  possibly  for  that  reason 
that  her  out-door  habits  were  encouraged.  She  was  an 
exceedingly  sensitive  and  imaginative  child,  too,  and  her 
imagination  was  by  no  means  dwarfed  by  the  servants,  who 
told  her  ghost-stories,  so  powerfully  affecting  her  that  years 
afterward  she  would  slip  out  of  bed  in  all  the  dreadful, 
haunted  darkness,  grope  shivering  and  shuddering  to  the 
stairs,  and  crouch  there  where  she  could  see  a  glimmer  of 
light  or  hear  a  murmur  of  voices. 

The  most  noted  of  these  servants  was  Athanasius,  a  Greek 
boy  escaped  from  the  Turkish  massacre, —  more's  the  pity,  one 
is  tempted  to  say, — and  despatched  to  her  father  as  a  waiter 
by  Bishop  Wainwright.  Rose  was  sent  out  to  walk  with  him 
every  day,  being  then  only  three  years  old,  and  he  would 
regale  her  on  the  way  with  the  most  frightful  recitals,  threat- 
ening that  if  she  ever  told  her  father  or  mother  he  would 
murder  her,  a  possibility  which  she  fully  believed  of  him. 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  187 

So  thoroughly  had  secrecy  been  burned  into  her  soul  by  fear 
that  she  never  told  of  him  till  she  was  a  grown  woman,  and 
had  forgotten  every  word  of  his  stories  ;  but  she  never  forgot, 
she  has  said,  her  horror  when  she  chanced  to  meet  his  fierce 
black  eyes  at  the  table,  and,  thinking  he  might  fulfil  his 
threat  on  the  supposition  that  she  had  betrayed  him,  would 
open  her  lips  to  cry  out,  "  O  Athanasius  !  don't  kill  me  !  I 
haven't  told  !  "  when  the  thought  that  such  an  exclamation  was 
truly  betrayal  and  sudden  death  checked  her.  It  is  very 
possibly  something  of  her  own  experience  of  this  sort  that 
has  made  her  one  of  the  most  eloquent  advocates  of  oppressed 
children. 

After  leaving  the  shelter  of  her  mother's  side,  Rose  entered 
a  female  seminary,  under  the  care  of  Mr.  John  P.  Brace, 
who  had  been  an  instructor  in  the  school  where  her  mother 
received  her  education  before  becoming  a  pupil  of  Mrs. 
Sigourney's.  The  early  growth  of  her  powers,  which  was 
marked  by  the  fact  of  her  knowing  how  to  read  perfectly  at 
the  age  of  three,  was  equally  perceptible  in  her  school  life, 
where  she  wrote  prize-poems,  composed  dramas  for  the  young 
amateurs  of  the  school,  and  learned  languages,  all  as  if  it  were 
play :  some  verses  written  then  under  the  title  of  "  Hearts- 
ease "  would  have  done  credit  to  the  maturer  poetesses  of 
the  preceding  generation. 

At  sixteen  she  graduated  ;  and  it  was  during  the  same  year 
that  she  united  with  the  church,  making  a  profession  of 
religion  which  has  ever  since  been  as  vital  to  her  as  tho 
atmosphere  she  breathed.  But  although  of  the  straitest  sect 
herself,  she  has  always  been  liberal  and  kindly  in  relation  to 
the  views  of  others.  To  some,  in  her  enthusiasm  for  beauty, 
her  idealism,  and  her  sense  of  the  consoling  power  of  visible 
nature,  it  would  seem  as  if  a  strain  of  pagan  blood  had,  after 
all,  a  little  enlarged  the  Puritan,  if  there  were  any  possi- 
bility of  the  pagan  upon  the  scene.  For  if  one  recalls  the 
dark  antecedents  of  that  region  which  gave  her  birth,  the 
strength  and  sternness  of  a  race  springing  on  a  soil  but  half 
reclaimed  from  the  primeval  forest,  but  half  redeemed  from 


188  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

the  lurking  savage,  haunted  by  terrors  of  the  known  and  of 
the  unknown,  where  thought  descended  straightened  by  the 
iron  cage  of  a  strict  creed,  nowhere  stricter,  and  nowhere 
enduring  with  more  unrelaxing  rigor,  it  will  be  felt  that  so 
rich  and  beautiful  a  nature  as  Rose  Terry's  was  as  foreign  to 
all  that  gloomy  shadow  of  descent  as  a  tropical  blossom 
would  be  to  that  belt  of  the  eternal  snows  where  only  the 
lichen  grows. 

But  whatever  her  own  nature  and  identity  may  be,  that 
descent  has  given  her  a  warm  and  kindred  sympathy  with  the 
experiences  of  people  who  share  it  with  her,  and  she  derives 
from  it  her  faculty  of  depicting  the  last  delicate  shade  and 
contour  of  the  New  England  country  life  in  a  manner  rivalled 
by  no  other  delineator.  For  capital  as  the  dialect  of  Mrs. 
Stowe  is  in  this  field,  and  delicious  as  the  "Biglow  Papers  " 
are,  I  should  say  that  they  neither  of  them  quite  render  that 
inner  piquancy  and  flavor  which  she  has  caught,  nor  altogether 
evince  complete  perception  of  that  strange  character,  soon  to 
be  only  a  thing  of  history,  with  all  its  contrasts  and  colors, 
its  wealth  and  its  meagreness,  the  depth  of  its  sombreness, 
the  flashes  of  its  drollery,  the  might  of  its  uprightness,  the 
strength  of  its  superstitions,  with  its  shadows,  its  grotesque- 
ries,  and  its  undying  pathos,  —  all  of  which  she  sees  with 
keen  insight  and  personal  sympathy,  humanizes  with  fearless 
fidelity  to  nature  and  most  tender  humor,  and  brightens  with 
a  brilliant  wit. 

It  is  not  in  any  flattering  light  that  she  takes  up  this  theme  ; 
she  finds  in  it  occasion  for  romance  of  all  the  darker  sort,  as 
well  as  for  trenchant  phrase  and  for  illimitable  laughter.  In 
the  sketch  of  the  "  West  Shetucket  Railway,"  that  Hawthorne 
might  have  written  ("Crispin,  rival  de  son  maitre,  un  petit 
chefd'ceuvre  que  Moliere  a  ouUie  defaire,"  as  Arsene  Hous- 
saye  says),  she  looks  on  a  blacker  side  than  many  of  us  are 
quite  willing  to  admit  the  existence  of;  but  it  is  on  this  black 
side  that  she  knows  how  to  throw  the  irradiation  of  her  genius, 
and,  while  bringing  out  the  abrupt  lights  and  darks,  softening 
all  with  the  divine  glow  of  pity. 


ROSE  TERRY  COOE3J.  189 

"  To  a  person  at  all  conversant  with  life  in  the  deep  country 
of < New  England,"  she  says  :  "Life  in  lonely  farms  among  its 
wild  mountains,  or  on  the  bare,  desolate  hills  that  roll  their 
sullen  brown  summits  mile  on  mile  through  the  lower  tracts 
of  this  region,  there  is  nothing  more  painful  than  the 
prevalence  of  crime  and  disease  in  these  isolated  homes. 
Born  to  an  inheritance  of  hard  labor,  labor  necessary  to  mere 
life  ;  fighting  with  that  most  valorous  instinct  of  human  nature, 
the  instinct  of  self-preservation,  against  a  climate  not  only 
rigorous  but  fatally  changeful,  a  soil  bitter  and  barren  enough 
to  need  that  gold  should  be  sewn  before  more  than  copper 
can  be  harvested,  without  any  excitement  to  stir  the  half 
torpid  brain,  without  any  pleasure,  the  New  England  farmer 
becomes  in  too  many  cases  a  mere  creature  of  animal  instincts 
akin  to  the  beasts  that  perish, — hard,  cruel,  sensual,  vindic- 
tive. An  habitual  church-goer,  perhaps ;  but  none  the  less 
thoroughly  irreligious.  All  the  keener  sensitiveness  of  his 
organization  blunted  with  over-work  and  under-feeding  till 
the  finer  emotions  of  his  soul  dwindle  and  perish  for  want  of 
means  of  expression,  he  revenges  himself  on  his  condition  in 
the  natural  way.  And  when  you  bring  this  same  dreadful 
pressure  to  bear  on  women,  whose  more  delicate  nature  is 
proportionately  more  excitable,  whose  hearts  bleed  silently  to 
the  very  last  drop  before  their  lips  find  utterance,  —  when  you 
bring  to  bear  on  these  poor  weak  souls,  made  for  love  and 
gentleness  and  bright  outlooks  from  the  daily  dulness  of 
work,  the  brutality,  stupidness,  small  craft,  and  boorish 
tyranny  of  husbands  to  whom  they  are  tied  beyond  escape, 
what  wonder  is  it  that  a  third  of  all  the  female  lunatics  in  our 
asylums  are  farmers'  wives,  and  that  domestic  tragedies,  even 
beyond  the  scope  of  a  sensation  novel,  occur  daily  in  these 
lonely  houses,  far  beyond  human  help  or  hope  ?  " 

It  is  not  always  from  such  gloomy  material,  however,  that 
she  has  drawn,  and  whenever  she  has  used  it  it  is  to  brighten 
it  with  her  inexhaustible  pleasantry.  "  The's  other  folks  die 
and  don't  remember  you,  and  you're  just  as  bad  off  as  if  you 
wa'n't  a  widder,"  comes  on  a  funereal  occasion ;  a  touch  of 


190  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

rude  nature  breaks  upon  the  pathos  of  a  scene  where  "  the 
locusts  in  the  woods  chittered  as  though  they  was  fry  in',"  and 
phrases  of  the  vernacular,  such  as  "chewin'  of  meetin'-seed," 
"  the  shockanum  palsy,"  "  dumb  as  a  horned  critter,"  and  a 
world  of  others  are  preserved  for  all  time,  like  bugs  in  amber. 

A  multiplied  value  is  given  to  these  characterizations  by 
the  circumstance  that  their  types  are  fast  becoming  extinct. 
The  pious  old  spinster,  who  could  give  lessons  in  the  five 
points  of  Calvinism  to  the  modern  minister,  will  soon  be  no 
more,  and  it  is  a  historical  study  when  we  find  her,  as  we  do, 
for  instance,  in  the  person  of  Miss  Lavvy,  uttering  her  shrewd 
aphorisms,  "  Well,  of  all  things  !  if  you  hain't  got  aground  on 
doctrines,"  cries  the  old  tailoress.  "  Happilony,  you  hear  to 
me,  you've  got  common  sense,  and  does  it  stand  to  reason 
that  the  Lord  that  made  you  hain't  got  any  ?  ...  If  you've 
got  so't  you  can't  understand  the  Lord's  ways,  mebbe  you'd 
better  stop.  Folks  that  try  dippin'  up  the  sea  in  a  pint-cup 
don't  usually  make  it  out.  .  .  .  We  ain't  a  right  to  vex  our- 
selves about  to-morrow ;  to-day's  all  we  can  handle ;  the 
manna  spiled  when  it  was  kep'  over." 

Immediately  after  graduation  Rose  began  to  teach  in  Hart- 
ford, although  she  did  not  long  remain  there  while  thus 
occupied,  presently  taking  a  situation  in  a  Presbyterian 
church  school  in  Burlington,  N.  J.  In  the  fourth  year  there 
she  became  a  governess  in  the  family  of  the  clergyman ;  but 
after  a  while,  feeling  the  need  there  was  of  her  at  home,  she 
returned  to  Hartford  and  began  her  more  precisely  literary  life. 

Her  first  story,  written  for  "  Graham's  Magazine,"  at  the 
age  of  eighteen,  encouraged  her;  but  her  dream  was  that  of 
developing  her  powers  of  poetry.  Sympathy  with  those 
whom  she  met  and  knew  from  day  to  day,  a  quick  and  keen 
eye  for  the  ridiculous,  a  heart  touched  with  pity,  and  the 
natural  faculty  of  the  raconteur,  diverted  her  in  some  mea- 
sure into  the  stories  of  New  England  life  of  which  I  have 
spoken ;  but  the  fluttering  aspiration  of  her  nature,  at  home 
in  lofty  regions,  lifted  her  on  wings  of  song ;  and  every  one 
of  her  stories  that  deals  with  human  nature  in  other  than 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  191 

its  rustic  New  England  aspects  is  as  much  a  poem  as  if 
written  in  measure  with  rhyme  and  rhythm. 

Her  first  verses  were  printed  in  the  New  York  "  Tribune," 
and  nothing  better  shows  the  tenderness  of  the  tie  between 
her  and  her  mother,  and  the  inherent  modesty  of  her 
nature,  than  the  fact  of  her  using  her  mother's  initials  for  a 
pseudonym,  and  hiding  her  own  authorship  altogether.  Mr. 
Charles  A.  Dana,  then  editorially  connected  with  the  "  Tri- 
bune," was  her  very  good  friend  in  this  matter,  and  she  has 
always  cherished  for  him  a  grateful  attachment.  Those  who 
befriend  us  in  these  trying  if  glowing  days  of  our  first  en- 
deavor, become  in  some  degree  a  part  of  the  ideal  we 
pursue,  and  never  lose  the  light  then  shed  about  them,  and 
this  was  her  case  in  relation  also  to  many  others  who  watched 
the  opening  of  her  genius  with  interest  and  sympathy.  Rose 
Terry  is  the  most  loyal  of  friends  where  she  has  given 
her  affection ;  her  fidelity  is  as  stanch  as  her  choice  is  dis- 
criminating, and  her  enthusiasm  once  kindled  knows  no 
bounds,  since  in  its  cause  there  is  nothing  she  would  not  sac- 
rifice except  her  soul.  Possibly  she  would  be  as  good  a 
hater  as  lover  should  occasion  rise,  for  indifference  is  impos- 
sible to  her,  and  all  her  emotions  are  strong  ones. 

Such  a  spirit,  sensitive  to  all  the  phenomena  of  the  material 
and  immaterial  universe,  is  the  animate  essence  of  poetry ; 
and  it  is  no  wonder  that  as  week  by  week  her  verses  appeared 
they  touched  a  wider  and  wider  circle,  till  inquiry  rose  as  to 
their  origin,  and  it  was  at  last  demanded  that  they  should  be 
gathered  into  a  volume  where  their  lovers  could  have  them 
more  nearly  at  hand.  Between  the  lines  of  this  little  volume 
much  of  the  author's  experience  and  personality  can  be  read  by 
one  in  search  of  it.  A  passionate  love  of  beauty  pervades  it, 
a  stinging  scorn  of  the  ignoble.  Every  here  and  there  a 
delicate  sadness  breaks  through  its  reserves  :  — 

"  My  life  is  like  a  song 

That  a  bird  sings  in  its  sleeping, 
Or  a  hidden  stream  that  flows  along 
To  the  sound  of  its  own  soft  weeping." 


192  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

And  again  we  have  it  in  the  "  New  Moon,"  in  M  Implora  Pace,'' 
and  in  the  "  Fishing  Song  "  heard  over  the  wide  gray  river :  — 

"  And  the  ways  of  God  are  darkness, 

His  judgment  waiteth  long,  — 
He  breaks  the  heart  of  a  woman 
With  a  fisherman's  careless  song." 

It  is  a  sadness,  nevertheless,  that  once  in  a  while  rises  to  an 
impersonal  height,  as  in  the  strength  of  the  lines :  — 

"Hast  thou  no  more  enduring  date 
Than  out  of  one  despair  to  die?" 

Or  yet  again, 

"  God  sees  from  the  high  blue  heaven, 

He  sees  the  grape  in  the  flower ; 
He  hears  one's  life-blood  dripping 

Through  the  maddest,  merriest  hour ; 
He  knows  what  sack-cloth  and  ashes  hide  in  the  purple 
of  power ! " 

Here,  too,  in  such  fiery  verses  as  "  Samson  Agonistes," 
"Fremont's  Ride,"  and  "After  the  Camanches,"  may  be  seen 
the  writer's  patriotism,  her  politics,  and  her  lively  interest  in 
the  questions  of  the  day ;  her  religious  feeling  is  found  in  the 
"  Bell  Songs  "  and  in  "  Prayer,"  to  speak  of  no  others  ;  and 
her  sympathy  with  the  human  heart  in  "  At  Last,"  and  in 
"The  Two  Villages,"  a  thing  that  has  been  printed  and 
reprinted,  carried  in  work-baskets  and  pocket-books,  and 
everybody's  heart.  There  is  a  tremendous  vigor  and  vivid 
picturesqueness  in  her  poems  of  "  Semele  "  and  "The  Suttee," 
weird  and  wonderful  phases  of  passion,  and  in  "Doubt,"  a 
poem  without  a  peer,  in  its  own  order,  unless  it  be  Emer- 
son's "  Brahma ;  "  while  "  Basile  Renaud  "  is  a  ballad  that  in 
dramatic  fire,  spirit,  and  beauty  is  worthy  of  the  first  poet 
of  the  age.  Meantime,  "In  The  Hospital,"  "Done  For," 
and  "Lost  on  the  Prairie,"  were  the  pioneers  of  the  Border 
ballad,  originated  the  idea  and  gave  the  motive  to  all  of  that 
nature  that  have  ever  followed. 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  193 

There  are  few  poets  who  have  the  power  of  presenting  a 
scene  so  that  its  very  atmosphere  is  felt ;  but  Rose  Terry 
always  does ;  here  the  spell  of  cool  odors  and  dews  and 
rustling  leaves  are  had,  where  — 

"  Far  through  the  hills  some  falling  river  grieves, 

All  earth  is  stilled 
Save  where  a  dreaming  bird  with  sudden  song  is  thrilled ; " 

And  there  the  sense  of  the  forest  distils  about  us  as  — 

"  The  thick  leaves  that  scent  the  tremulous  air 

Let  the  bright  sunshine  pass  with  softened  light, 
And  lips  unwonted  breathe  instinctive  prayer 
In  these  cool  arches  filled  with  verdurous  night." 

None  of  her  poems  are  more  spiritually  or  suggestively  lovely 
than  that  with  the  title  of  "  Trailing  Arbutus,"  which  seems 
to  bear  about  it  the  fragrance  of  the  flower  itself. 

"  Were  your  pure  lips  fashioned 

Out  of  air  and  dew, 
Starlight  unimpassioned, 

Dawn's  most  tender  hue, 
And  scented  by  the  woods  that  gathered  sweets  for  you  ? 

"  Were  not  mortal  sorrow 

An  immortal  shade, 
Then  would  I  to-morrow 
Such  a  flower  be  made, 
And  live  in  the  dear  woods  where  my  lost  childhood  played." 

Through  all  these  pages  a  sweet,  keen,  delicate  music  throbs 
and  sings  itself.  I  remember  when  I  first  read  them  how 
it  haunted  me,  a  beautiful  ghost  that  would  not  down,  and 
after  twenty-five  years  they  are  still  singing  their  tunes  in  my 
brain. 

Of  late  years  other  work  has  in  too  great  measure  super- 
seded the  delight  of  singing,  although  a  long  poem  was  written 
to  be  read  at  the  celebration  of  the  anniversary  of  the  Groton 


194  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

Massacre,  the  selection  of  her  name  as  that  of  the  poet  of  the 
day,  showing  the  pride  and  appreciation  in  which  her  native 
State  holds  her ;  and  later  she  gave  the  young  girls  of  the 
graduating  class  of  Smith  College  "  The  Flower  Sower,"  as 
full  of  freshness  and  purity  as  the  spring  morning  is  of  sun- 
shine and  dew. 

Ten  years  after  writing  her  first  story,  "The  Mormon's 
Wife,"  of  which  we  have  already  spoken,  was  published,  and 
after  that  time  Rose  became  a  constant  contributor  to  "  Put- 
nam's Monthly"  till  it  ceased,  to  "Harper's,"  the  "Atlantic," 
and  other  periodicals  as  they  rose,  receiving  the  best  pay 
given,  although  the  best  may  be  said  to  be  inadequate  for 
such  work.  If  many  of  these  stories  are  not  poems,  as  I 
have  said,  it  is  simply  in  form.  What  fine  unison  with 
nature  breathes  through  them,  what  feeling  for  the  ineffable 
experiences  of  which  all  are  conscious  but  which  most  are 
powerless  to  reduce  to  words,  how  rich  and  varied  is  the 
diction,  and  how  sonorous  the  phrasing  !  What  sentences  are 
such  as  this :  "  The  music  lived  alone  in  upper  air ;  of  men 
and  dancing  it  was  all  unaware ;  the  involved  cadences  rolled 
away  over  the  lawn,  shook  the  dew-dropped  roses  on  their 
stems,  and  went  upward  in  the  boundless  moonlight  to  its 
home."  And  who,  with  brush  and  pigment,  can  paint  a  pic- 
ture more  actually  and  perfectly  than  this  :  "  From  the  front 
door-step,  a  great  slab  of  hewn  granite,  you  looked  south- 
ward down  a  little  green  valley,  striking  a  range  of  wooded 
hills,  and  on  the  other  hand  a  bright  chain  of  lakelets 
threaded  on  a  rippled  river.  To  the  right,  as  you  faced  this 
lovely  outlet,  a  mountain  lifted  its  great  green  shoulders  and 
barren  summit  high  in  air ;  and,  to  the  left,  a  lake  slept  in 
the  bosom  of  just  such  lofty  hills,  wooded  to  the  water's 
edge,  and  so  reflexed  and  repeated  in  that  tranquil  mirror 
that  its  shifting  dyes  of  golden  verdure  mimicked  the 
peacock's  beauteous  throat,  and  changed,  faded,  brightened, 
grew  dark,  or  gold,  or  gray,  with  every  wandering  cloud,  each 
sun-kiss  from  the  sunnier  heaven,  all  flying  showers  or 
ruffling  winds;  while,  to  the  north,  mountain  overlapping 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  195 

mountain,  painted  by  the  deepening  distance  with  darkest 
green,  solemn  purple,  or  aerial  blue,  and  hiding  in  their  giant 
breasts  the  road  that  threaded  those  secret  abysses,  daunted 
and  defied  the  gazer  with  a  mystery  of  grand  beauty  that 
might  make  a  poet  hopeless  and  a  painter  despair." 

Although  stories  as  forcible  as  "Freedom  Wheeler's 
Controversy,"  full  at  once  of  a  terrible  pathos  and  a  grim 
humor,  have  since  come  from  her  pen,  nothing  that  she  has 
ever  written  has  exceeded  the  absolute  beauty  of  "  Metempsy- 
chosis," published  twenty  years  or  more  ago,  and  of  which  I 
subjoin  a  portion  :  — 

"  I  drew  the  long  skirt  of  my  lace-dress  up  over  my  hair, 
and  quietly  went  into  the  greenhouse.  The  lawn  and  its 
black  firs  tempted  me,  but  there  was  moonlight  on  the  lawn, 
and  moonlight  I  cannot  bear ;  it  burns  my  head  more  fiercely 
than  any  noon  sun ;  it  scorches  my  eyelids ;  it  exhausts  and 
fevers  me ;  it  excites  my  brain,  and  now  I  looked  for  calm. 
This  the  odor  of  the  flowers  and  their  pure  expression 
promised  me.  A  tall,  thick-leaved  camellia  stood  half-way 
down  the  border,  and  before  it  was  a  garden-chair.  The 
moonlight  shed  no  ray  there,  but  through  the  sashes  above 
streamed  cool  and  fair  over  the  blooms  that  clung  to  the  wall 
and  adorned  the  parterres  and  vases ;  for  this  house  was  set 
after  a  fashion  of  my  own,  a  winter-garden  under  glass ;  no 
stages  filled  the  centre.  It  was  laid  out  with  no  stiff  rule, 
but  here  and  there  in  urns  of  stone,  or  in  pyramidal  stands, 
gorgeous  or  fragrant  plants  ran  at  their  own  wild  will,  while 
over  all  the  wall  and  along  the  woodwork  of  the  roof  trailed 
passion-flowers,  roses,  honeysuckles,  fragrant  clematis,  ivy, 
and  those  tropic  vines  whose  long  dead  names  belie  their 
fervid  luxuriance  and  fantastic  growth  ;  great  trees  of  lemon 
and  orange  interspaced  the  vines  in  shallow  niches  of  their 
own,  and  the  languid  drooping  tresses  of  a  golden  acacia 
flung  themselves  over  and  across  the  deep  glittering  mass  of 
a  broad-leaved  myrtle. 

"  As  I  sat  down  on  the  chair,  Pan  reared  his  dusky  length 
from  his  mat  and  came  for  a  recognition.  It  was  wont  to  be 


196  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

something  more  positive  than  caresses ;  but  to-night  neither 
sweet  biscuit  nor  savory  bit  of  confectionery  appeared  in  the 
hand  that  welcomed  him ;  yet  he  was  as  loving  as  ever,  and, 
with  a  grim  sense  of  protection,  flung  himself  at  my  feet, 
drew  a  long  breath,  and  slept.  I  dared  not  yet  think ;  I 
rested  my  head  against  the  chair,  and  breathed  in  the  odor  of 
flowers ;  the  delicate  scent  of  tea-roses ;  the  southern  per- 
fume, fiery  and  sweet,  like  Greek  wine,  of  profuse  heliotropes, 
—  a  perfume  that  gives  you  thirst,  and  longing,  and  regret. 
I  turned  my  head  towards  the  orange-trees ;  southern,  also, 
but  sensuous  and  tropic  was  the  breath  of  those  thick  white 
stars,  —  a  tasted  odor.  Not  so  the  cool  air  that  came  to  me 
from  a  diamond-shaped  bed  of  Parma  violets,  kept  back  so 
long  from  bloom  that  I  might  have  a  succession  of  them ; 
these  were  the  last,  and  their  perfume  told  it,  for  it  was  at 
once  a  caress  and  a  sigh.  I  breathed  the  gale  of  sweetness 
till  every  nerve  rested  and  every  pulse  was  tranquil  as  the  air 
without. 

"  I  heard  a  little  stir.  I  looked  up.  A  stately  calla,  that 
reared  one  marble  cup  from  its  gracious,  cool  leaves,  was 
bending  earthward  with  a  slow  and  voluntary  motion  ;  from 
the  cup  glided  a  fair  woman's  shape ;  snowy,  sandalled 
feet  shone  from  under  the  long  robe ;  hair  of  crisped 
gold  crowned  the  Greek  features.  It  was  Hypatia.  A 
little  shiver  crept  through  a  white  tea-rose  beside  the  calla ; 
its  delicate  leaves  fluttered  to  the  ground ;  a  slight  figure, 
a  sweet  sad  face  with  melancholy  blue  eyes  and  fair  brown 
hair,  parted  the  petals.  La  Valliere !  She  gazed  in  my 
eyes. 

'Poor   little   child!'    said  she.     'Have    you   a  treatise 
against  love,  Hypatia?' 

"  The  Greek  of  Egypt  smiled  and  looked  at  me  also.  '  I 
have  discovered  that  the  steps  of  the  gods  are  upon  wool/ 
answered  she  ;  '  if  love  had  a  beginnning  to  sight  should  not 
we  also  foresee  its  end?' 

ff  'And  when  one  foresees  the  end,  one.  dies/  murmured  La 
Valliere. 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  197 

"  'Bah  ! '  exclaimed  Marguerite  of  Valois,  from  the  heart  of 
a  rose-red  camellia ;  '  not  at  all,  my  dear ;  one  gets  a  new 
lover ! ' 

" '  Or  the  new  lover  gets  you,'  said  a  dulcet  tone,  tipped 
with  satire,  from  the  red  lips  of  Mary  of  Scotland,  —  lips 
that  were  just  now  the  petals  of  a  crimson  carnation. 

"'  Philosophy  hath  a  less  troubled  sea  whereon  to  ride  than 
the  stormy  fluctuance  of  mortal  passion  ;  Plato  is  diviner  than 
Ovid/  said  a  Puritanic,  piping  voice  from  a  coif  that  was 
fashioned  of  the  white  camellia-blooms  behind  my  chair,  and 
circled  the  prim  beauty  of  Lady  Jane  Grey. 

"'Are  you  a  woman,  or  one  of  the  Sphinx's  children?' 
said  a  stormy,  thrilling,  imperious  accent,  from  the  wild 
purple  and  scarlet  flower  of  the  Strelitzia,  that  gradually 
shaped  itself  into  gorgeous  oriental  robes,  rolled  in  waves  of 
splendor  from  the  lithe  waist  and  slender  arms  of  a  dark 
woman,  no  more  young,  —  sallow,  thin,  but  more  graceful 
than  any  bending  bough  of  the  desert  acacia,  and  with  eyes 
like  midnight,  deep,  glowing,  flashing,  melting  into  dew,  as 
she  looked  at  the  sedate  lady  of  England. 

" '  You  do  not  know  love  ! '  resumed  she.  f  It  is  one 
draught, — a  jewel  fused  in  nectar;  drink  the  pearl  and 
bring  the  asp  ! ' 

"  Her  words  brought  beauty  ;  the  sallow  face  burned  with 
living  scarlet  on  lip  and  cheek  ;  the  tiny  pearl-grains  of  teeth 
flashed  across  the  swarth  shade  above  her  curving,  passionate 
mouth ;  the  wide  nostril  expanded ;  the  great  eyes  flamed 
under  her  low  brow  and  «;litterin£f  coils  of  black  hair. 

o  o 

f  *  Poor  Octavia  ! '  whispered  La  Valliere.  Lady  Jane  Grey 
took  up  her  breviary,  and  read. 

"  '  After  all,  you  died  ! '  said  Hypatia. 

r '  I  lived  ! '  retorted  Cleopatra. 

' '  Lived  and  loved,'  said  a  dreamy  tone  from  the  hundred 
leaves  of  a  spotless  La  Marque  rose  ;  and  the  steady  '  unhast- 
ing,  unresting'  soul  of  Thekla  looked  out  from  that  centreless 
flower,  in  true  German  guise  of  brown,  braided  tresses,  deep 
blue  eyes  like  forget-me-nots,  sedate  lips,  and  a  straight  nose. 


198  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

'"I  have  lived,  and  loved,  and  cut  bread  and  butter/ 
solemnly  pronounced  a  mountain-daisy,  assuming  the  broad 
features  of  a  fraulein. 

"  Cleopatra  used  an  Egyptian  oath.  Lady  Jane  Grey  put 
down  her  breviary  and  took  up  Plato.  Marguerite  of  Valois 
laughed  outright.  Hypatia  put  a  green  leaf  over  Charlotte, 
with  the  air  of  a  high-priestess,  and  extinguished  her. 

:<  Who  does  not  love  cannot  lose,'  mused  La  Valliere. 

'  Who  does  not  love  neither  has  nor  gains,'  said  Hypatia. 

*  The  dilemma  hath  two  sides,  and  both  gain  and  loss  are  pro- 
blematic.   It  is  the  ideal  of  love  that  enthralls  us,  not  the  real.' 

'  Hush,  you  white-faced  Greek  !  It  was  not  an  ideal ;  it 
was  Marc  Antony.  By  Isis  !  does  a  dream  fight  and  swear 
and  kiss?' 

'  The  Navarrese  did ;  and  France  dreamed  he  was  my 
master,  —  not  I ! '  laughed  Marguerite. 

f  This  is  most  weak  stuff  for  goodly  and  noble  women  to 
foster,'  grimly  uttered  a  flame-colored  hawk's-bill  tulip,  that 
directly  assumed  a  ruff  and  an  aquiline  nose. 

"  Mary  of  Scotland  passed  her  hand  about  her  fair  throat. 

*  Where  is  Leicester's  ring?'  said  she. 

'*  The  Queen  did  not  hear,  but  went  on.  '  Truly,  you 
make  as  if  it  was  the  intent  of  wromen'  to  be  trodden  under 
foot  of  men.  She  that  ruleth  herself  shall  rule  both  princes 
and  nobles,  I  wot.  Yet  I  had  done  well  to  marry.  Love 
or  no  love,  I  would  the  House  of  Hanover  had  waged  war 
with  one  of  mine  own  blood  ;  I  hate  those  fair,  fat  Guelphs  ! ' 
'  *  Love  hath  sometimes  the  thorn  alone,  the  rose  being 
blasted  in  bud,'  uttered  a  sweet  and  sonorous  voice,  with  a 
little  nasal  accent,  out  of  the  myrtle-boughs  that  starred  with 
bloom  her  hair,  and  swept  the  hem  of  her  green  dress. 

'  Sweet  soul,  was  thou  not,  then,  sated  upon  sonnets?' 
said  Mary  of  Scotland,  in  a  stage  aside. 

'  Do   not   the   laurels   overgrow    the    thorn?'    said   La 

o 

Valliere,  with  a  wistful,  inquiring  smile. 

"  Laura  looked  away.  *  They  are  very  green  at  Avignon,' 
said  she. 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  199 

"  Out  of  two  primroses,  side  by  side,  Stella  and  Vanessa 
put  forth  pale  and  anxious  faces,  with  eyes  tear-dimmed. 

"'Love  does  not  feed  on  laurels,'  said  Stella;  'they  are 
fruitless/ 

'  That  the  clergy  should  be  celibate  is  mine  own  desire,' 
broke  in  Queen  Elizabeth.  '  Shall  every  curly  fool's  pate  of 
a  girl  be  turning  after  an  anointed  bishop?  I  will  have  this 
thing  ended,  certes  !  and  that  with  speed.' 

r?  Vanessa  was  too  deep  in  a  brown  study  to  hear.  Pres- 
ently she  spoke.  f  I  believe  that  love  is  best  founded  on  a 
degree  of  respect  and  veneration,  which  it  is  decent  in  youth 
to  render  unto  age  and  learning.' 

'  Cielf  muttered  Marguerite.  'Is  it,  then,  that  in  this 
miserable  England  one  cherishes  a  grand  passion  for  one's 
grandfather  ? ' 

"  The  heliotrope  clusters  melted  into  a  face  of  plastic  con- 
tour, rich,  full  lips,  soft,  interfused  outlines,  intense,  purple 
eyes,  and  heavy,  waving  hair,  dark  indeed,  but  harmonizing 
curiously  with  the  narrow  gold  fillet  that  bound  it.  '  It  is  no 
pain  to  die  for  love,'  said  the  low,  deep  voice  with  an  echo 
of  rolling  gerunds  in  the  tone.' 

'  That  depends  on  how  sharp  the  dagger  is,'  returned 
Mary  of  Scotland.  '  If  the  axe  had  been  dull ' 

"  From  the  heart  of  a  red  rose  Juliet  looked  out ;  the 
golden  centre  crowned  her  head  with  yellow  tresses ;  her 
tender  hazel  eyes  were  calm  with  intact  passion  ;  her  mouth 
was  scarlet  with  fresh  kisses,  and  full  of  consciousness  and 
repose.  '  Harder  it  is  to  live  for  love,'  said  she  ;  '  hardest  of 
all  to  have  ever  lived  without  it.' 

f '  How  much  do  you  all  help  the  matter?  '  said  a  practical 
Yankee  voice  from  a  pink  hollyhock.  '  If  the  infinite  rela- 
tions of  life  assert  themselves  in  marriage,  and  the  infinite 
"  I "  merges  its  individuality  in  the  personality  of  another,  the 
superincumbent  need  of  a  passional  relation  passes  without 
question.  What  the  soul  of  the  seeker  asks  for  itself  and  the 
universe  is,  whether  the  ultimate  principle  of  existent  life  is 
passional  or  philosophic  ? ' 
13 


200  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

"'Your  dialectic  is  wanting  in  purity  of  expression,' 
calmly  said  Hypatia ;  '  the  tongue  of  Olympus  suits  gods  and 
their  ministers  only.' 

"'Plato  hath  no  question  of  the  matter  in  hand,'  observed 
Lady  Jane  Grey,  with  a  tone  of  finishing  the  subject. 

"'I  know  nothing  of  your  questions  and  philosophies,' 
scornfully  stormed  Cleopatra.  '  Fire  seeks  fire,  and  clay 
clay.  Isis  send  me  Antony,  and  every  philosopher  in 
Alexandria  may  go  drown  in  the  Nile  !  Shall  I  blind  my 
eyes  with  scrolls  of  papyrus  when  there  is  a  goodly  Roman 
to  be  looked  upon?' 

"  From  the  deep  blue  petals  of  a  double  English  violet 
came  a  delicate  face,  pale,  serene,  sad,  but  exceeding  ten- 
der. 'Love  liveth  when  the  lover  dies,' said  Lady  Rachel 
Russell.  '  I  have  well  loved  my  lord  in  the  prison ;  shall 
I  cease  to  affect  him  when  he  is  become  one  of  the  court 
above  ? ' 

'  You  are  cautious  of  speech,  Mesdames,'  carelessly  spoke 
Marguerite.  '  Women  are  the  fools  of  men  ;  you  all  know  it. 
Every  one  of  you  has  carried  cap  and  bell.' 

"  They  all  turned  towards  the  hawk's-bill  tulip ;  it  was  not 
there. 

r '  Gone  to  Kenil worth,'  demurely  sneered  Mary  of  Scot- 
land. 

"A  pond-lily,  floating  in  a  tiny  tank,  opened  its  clasped 
petals ;  and  with  one  bare  pearly  foot  upon  the  green  island 
of  leaves,  and  the  other  touching  the  edge  of  the  marble 
basin,  clothed  with  a  rippling,  lustrous,  golden  garment  of 
hair,  that  rolled  down  in  glittering  masses  to  her  slight 
ankles,  and  half  hid  the  wide,  innocent  blue  eyes  and  infantile, 
smiling  lips,  Eve  said,  '  I  was  made  for  Adam,'  and  slipped 
silently  again  into  the  closing  flower. 

'  But  we  have  changed  all  that!'  answered  Marguerite, 
tossing  her  jewel-clasped  curls. 

'  They  whom  the  saints  call  upon  to  do  battle  for  king 
and  country  have  their  nature  after  the  manner  of  their 
deeds,'  came  a  clear  voice  from  the  fleur-de-lis  that  clothed 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  201 

itself  in  armor,  and  flashed  from  under  a  helmet  the  keen 
dark  eyes  and  firm  beardless  lips  of  a  woman. 

'  There  have  been  cloistered  nuns,'  timidly  breathed  La 
Valliere. 

'  There  is  a  monk's  hood  in  that  parterre  without,'  said 
Marguerite. 

"  The  white  clematis  shivered.  It  was  a  veiled  shape  in 
long  robes  that  hid  face  and  figure,  who  clung  to  the  wall 
and  whispered  '  Paraclete  I ' 

"  '  There  are  tales  of  saints  in  my  breviary,'  soliloquized 
Mary  of  Scotland ;  and  in  the  streaming  moonlight,  as  she 
spoke,  a  faint  outline  gathered,  lips  and  eyes  of  solemn  peace, 
a  crown  of  blood-red  roses  pressing  thorns  into  the  wan  tem- 
ples that  dripped  sanguine  streams,  and  in  the  halo  above  the 
wreath,  — a  legend  partially  obscured,  that  ran,  '  Utque  tails 
Rosa  nulli  alteri  plantce  adhcereret.' 

"  'But  the  girl  there  is  no  saint;  I  think,  rather,  she  is  of 
mine  own  land,'  said  a  purple  passion-flower  that  hid  itself 
under  a  black  mantilla,  and  glowed  with  dark  beauty.  The 
Spanish  face  bent  over  me  with  ardent  eyes  and  lips  of  sym- 
pathetic passion,  and  murmured,  '  Do  not  fear !  Pedro  was 
faithful  unto  and  after  death ;  there  are  some  men ' 

"  Pan  growled.     I  rubbed  my  eyes.    Where  was  I?"  .   .   . 

The  oftener  I  read  this  story,  in  which  history,  poetry,  the 
dramatic,  and  the  natural,  blend  so  many  charms,  the  more 
irresistible  I  find  its  spell,  and  sometimes  I  hesitate  to  ac- 
knowledge that,  in  its  own  vein,  the  passage  I  have  quoted 
has  its  superior.  To  me  Rose  Terry  Cooke  is  the  queen  of 
all  living  story-tellers  ;  in  the  power  of  wringing  tears  and 
forcing  laughter  I  do  not  know  her  superior,  and  Ludvig 
Tieck  and  Edgar  Poe  are  alone  her  equals. 

The  writing  of , stories  and  poems  has  been,  after  all,  but 
an  outside  matter  with  her,  a  sort  of  ring  of  Saturn.  The  real 
business  of  her  life  has  gone  on  within  its  circle,  a  life  largely 
given  to  others,  crowded  with  domestic  interests  and  occupa- 
tions, in  which  she  has  proved,  to  quote  a  couplet  of  her  own,, 
that  — 


202  ROSE   TERRY  COOKE. 

"  Daily,  hourly,  loving  and  giving 
In  the  poorest  life  makes  heavenly  living ;  " 

a  life  little  of  which  belongs  to  the  public,  and  whose  tenor 
until  her  marriage  was  varied  only  by  a  journey  to  Can- 
ada, or  the  West,  or  the  White  Mountains,  by  the  publi- 
cation of  her  "  Poems,"  and  a  marvellously  sweet  and  simple 
book  for  Sunday-school  children  called  "  Happy  Dodd,"  and 
later  by  a  volume  of  collected  stories,  by  no  means  her 
best. 

When  Rose  was  about  twenty-nine  her  idolized  sister 
Alice,  younger  than  herself  by  nearly  five  years,  married ; 
and  in  the  delicate  state  of  this  sister's  health  her  two  chil- 
dren became  the  care  and  delight  of  Rose.  Much  as  these 
children  may  owe  to  her,  it  is  to  them  chiefly  that  Rose  owes 
her  delicate  and  innermost1  sympathy  with  children,  the  know- 
ledge of  their  pretty  patois,  and  of  their  needs  and  natures ; 
and  for  years  they  made  all  the  happiness  she  had.  Great 
griefs  came  to  her, — the  death  of  her  mother,  the  long  illness 
and  death  of  her  sister ;  but  the  love  of  the  children  has 
remained  a  precious  possession. 

It  would  be  no  brief  or  light  thing  to  tell  the  story  of  all 
that  Rose  Terry  Cooke  is  in  a  home,  among  the  poor,  in  the 
life  of  a  neighborhood,  or  beside  a  sick-bed.  Her  sister  used 
to  say  that  she  thought  of  everything  like  a  woman  and  did 
everything  like  a  man.  There  was  never  any  limit  to  her 
self-devotion,  and  there  is  none  to-day ;  she  is  a  prodigal  of 
her  time,  her  work,  her  thought,  her  money,  and  herself. 
Hardly  less  is  to  be  expected  of  so  generous  and  enthusiastic 
a  spirit ;  for  enthusiasm  is  itself  a  self-forgetting. 

I  recall  an  instance  of  this  enthusiasm,  when  she  was  a 
good  deal  younger  than  she  is  now.  She  happened  to  attend 
Plymouth  Church  one  morning  when  the  pastor  brought  upon 
the  platform  a  little  colored  child  who  was  to  be  returned  to 
slavery  unless  a  certain  sum  of  money  could  be  paid  for  her 
at  once,  Mr.  Beecher  undertaking  to  raise  that  money  in  his 
church  .and  s&t  the  child  free.  As  he  told  the  story  of  her 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  203 

little  life  and  wrongs,  in  his  inimitable  manner,  every  heart 
was  harrowed,  none  more  so  than  that  of  Rose,  who  was  half 
wild  with  excitement,  wrought  to  a  fever  of  pity  and  horrcr ; 
and  every  purse  flew  open,  and  Rose  had  no  purse  about  her. 
But  on  her  hand,  a  white  and  tiny  hand,  was  a  ring  she  valued, 
a  ring  with  a  single  fine  opal  in  its  setting,  —  if  it  had  been 
the  Orloff  diamond  it  would  have  made  no  difference,  it  was 
all  she  had  when  the  box  came  round,  and  she  took  it  off  and 
dropped  it  in.  It  chanced  that  the  ring  exactly  fitted  one  of 
the  fingers  of  the  little  brown  hand,  and  Mr.  Beecher  gave  it 
to  the  child  in  token  of  her  freedom  and  her  friends,  as  the 
money  raised  was  amply  sufficient  to  purchase  her  safety ; 
and  presently  advertising  for  information  concerning  the 
giver  of  the  ring,  he  christened  the  child  into  the  new  life 
with  the  name  of  Rose.  If  the  reader  should  ever  see  a 
painting  by  Eastman  Johnson,  called  the  "  Freedom  Ring," 
where  a  child  sits  on  a  tiger-skin  and  looks  curiously  and 
gladly  at  a  jewel  on  her  hand,  it  is  this  incident  which  it 
commemorates. 

It  is  such  hearty  consonance  and  accord,  such  quick  re- 
sponse, aided  perhaps  by  the  pungent  wit  which  is  born  of 
common  sense  at  its  highest  development,  that  makes  Rose 
Terry  constantly  the  recipient  of  all  manner  of  sympathetic 
confidences,  both  from  people  whom  she  knows  and  those  whom 
she  never  met  before,  but  who  seek  her,  certain  of  receiving 
comfort,  and  repose  in  her  the  sad  and  sacred  secrets  of  their 
lives.  People,  too,  turn  up,  thinking  that  this  or  that  passage 
of  her  writing  is  about  themselves,  so  true  a  chord  does  she 
strike  with  her  touch  that  knows  the  sore  spots  of  the  human 
heart. 

Possibly  no  odder  experience  ever  befell  any  one  than  she 
has  encountered  in  the  simulation  and  personation  of  herself 
by  various  individuals  for  reasons  best  known  to  themselves. 
The  first  of  these  appeared  in  a  Pennsylvania  town,  in  the 
shape  of  a  woman  who  claimed  there  that  she  had  written 
everything  ever  published  under  Rose  Terry's  name,  that  the 
name  was  a  nom  de  plume  any  way,  the  name  of  a  little  cousin 


204  ROSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

of  hers  who  died  young,  her  uncle,  the  child's  father,  allow- 
ing her  to  use  it. 

This  interesting  person  aroused  a  wild  religious  excitement 
among  the  young  people  of  the  place,  fell  into  hysteric 
trances  on  hearing  sacred  music,  and  made  herself  generally 
adored  and  followed.  As  irritating  a  fact  as  any  in  the  mat- 
ter may  have  been  her  statement  that  she  had  received  eighty 
thousand  dollars  from  these  writings  of  hers,  and  had  used  it 
all  in  educating  poor  girls  !  After  a  time  Mrs.  Stowe  re- 
ceived a  note  from  the  lady  with  whom  this  pretender 
boarded,  which  ran,  — 

"  DEAR  MADAM,  —  I  call  upon  you  to  silence  the  base  reports 
spread  about  here  concerning  a  lovely  Christian  woman  at  pres- 
ent staying  with  me.  A  line  from  you,  stating  that  she  is  the 
author  of  the  works  written  under  the  signature  of  Rose  Terry, 
will  stop  the  rumors  at  once,  and  much  oblige  yours  truly." 

Mrs.  Stowe  immediately  responded  that  she  had  known 
Rose  Terry  from  her  birth,  and  that  she  was  then,  and  had 
been  for  many  years,  living  in  Hartford,  and  the  other  person 
was  necessarily  an  impostor. 

Years  afterward  this  gay  deceiver  came  to  Rose's  native 
place,  established  herself  there  as  one  of  the  leaders  in  re- 
ligious and  charitable  matters,  told  some  one  that  she  had 
written  much  under  Rose's  name,  told  some  one  else  that  she 
had  eighteen  hundred  dollars  a  year  from  the  "  Atlantic 
Monthly,"  and  marked  several  of  the  best  poems  in  a  religious 
collection  as  her  own,  the  publisher  positively  denying  her 
statement  when  asked  about  it.  This  peculiar  individual  still 
holds  a  trusted  position  in  a  city  charity,  and  lives  in  a 
wealthy  family  as  guide,  philosopher,  and  friend,  although 
the  truth  has  been  told  to  her  clientele,  who  persist  in  regard- 
ing her  as  a  persecuted  saint. 

The  next  counterfeit  of  her  identity  was  in  the  person  of  a 
lady  on  a  railroad  train,  who  made  acquaintance  with  the 
sister  of  a  friend  of  Rose's,  the  sister  never  happening  to  have 
seen  Rose  ;  she  informed  her  that  she  was  Rose  Terry,  that  she 


ROSE  TERRY  COOKE.  205 

was  going  abroad  to  write  a  book,  and  various  other  items  of 
her  literary  affairs,  of  which  Rose  herself  is  never  in  the  habit 
of  speaking  to  casual  acquaintances,  having,  as  she  says,  an 
old-fashioned  predilection  for  thepassSe  grace  of  modesty. 

Number  three  of  these  replicas  was  not  so  bad  as  might  be, 
as  she  simply  offered  her  services  in  a  New  York  Sunday 
school,  and  having  registered  this  name  of  her  fancy,  never 
appeared. 

Number  four,  however,  very  soon  replaced  her,  making 
her  avatar  at  a  hotel  in  New  York  and  confiding  the  fact  of 
the  authorship  of  certain  sentimental,  romantic,  and  humorous 
stories  and  verses  to  a  Southern  lady  who  presently  betrayed 
her. 

But  number  five  carried  things  to  a  pretty  pass ;  meeting 
an  acquaintance  of  Rose's  in  the  cars  on  the  way  from  Hart- 
ford, she  naturally  enough  inquired  if  she  lived  there,  and  then 
if  she  knew  Rose,  and  thereat  proceeded  to  give  quite  a  cir- 
cumstantial account  of  her  own  intimacy  with  the  object  of 
her  remark.  On  reaching  New  York,  she  |^ft  the  train  at  the 
upper  station,  and  the  pocketbook  of  Rose's  Hartford  ac- 
quaintance left  with  her. 

As  curious  as  anything  done  in  the  counterfeiting  way  by 
these  worthies  is  the  fact  that  it  was  Rose  whom  they  dared  to 
make  the  subject  of  their  deceits  and  lies,  for  in  the  fires  of 
her  indignant  scorn  and  anger  a  lie  is  something  that  should 
shrivel,  — it  could  not  live  in  her  presence.  Honest  herself, 
with  an  unflinching  integrity,  she  has  small  mercy  on  mean- 
nesses and  falsehood,  although,  tender-hearted  to  a  fault, 
she  is  full  of  forgiveness  for  the  repentant. 

Rose  is  one  of  the  most  emotional  of  people.  Music  flatters 
her  to  tears,  as  it  did  the  "aged  man  and  poor"  of  St.  Agnes' 
Eve ;  she  loses  herself,  like  a  child,  at  the  play ;  and  she 
outstrips  justice  in  the  generosity  of  her  judgments  on  her 
literary  contemporaries,  some  of  whom  owe  her  a  debt  of 
inspiration  not  to  be  repaid.  She  is  an  easy  and  rapid  writer, 
a  child  of  nature,  owing  little  to  art,  writing  on  her  knee  and 
seldom  copying,  in  a  compact  and  regular  script  that  tells  of 


206  EOSE  TERRY  COOKE. 

an  even  pulse  ;  submitting  to  interruption,  and  never  shutting 
herself  up  from  her  household  duties  for  the  sake  of  her  pen. 
She  is  an  amazing  mimic,  a  delightful  talker,  having  an  im- 
mense memory  with  stores  of  learning,  and  being  the  wittiest 
woman  I  have  ever  met ;  alive  to  the  tips  of  her  fingers,  she 
takes  the  keenest  interest  in  everything  and  everybody  about 
her.  Tall  and  shapely,  dressing  richly,  she  is  still  very 
attractive  in  person  ;  in  her  youth,  with  her  Spanish  color,  her 
great  soft  dark  eyes,  her  thick  and  long  black  hair,  and  the 
sweetness  and  vivacity  of  her  expression,  she  is  said  to  have 
been  singularly  beautiful.  I  have  a  picture  of  her,  taken  as 
a  Quakeress,  the  relic  of  some  fancy  fair  where  all  were  in 
costume,  that  is  lovely  enough  for  a  Madonna. 

On  the  16th  of  April,  1873,  a  great  change  came  into 
Rose  Terry's  life,  a  change  that  lifted  its  daily  round  into  the 
ideal.  She  became  then  the  wife  of  Mr.  Rollin  H.  Cooke,  an 
iron  manufacturer  of  Litchfield  County,  Connecticut ;  and 
she  went  to  live  with  him,  after  the  death  of  her  father,  at 
Winsted,  a  little  mountain  town  full  of  gorges  and  boulders, 
and  forest  trees,  the  tumbling  foam  of  brooks  and  the  whir- 
ring wheels  of  manufactures,  which  she  has  described  in  a 
number  of  ff  Harper's  Monthly,"  and  where  she  occupies  a 
large  old-fashioned  house,  once  a  colonial  mansion,  standing 
under  the  shadow  of  great  trees,  with  a  rocky  ledge  in  front 
lifting  its  black  edge  against  the  sunset.  Her  life  has  been 
ideal ;  for  there  is  an  entire  sympathy  of  taste,  and  feeling, 
and  opinion,  and  enjoyment  between  the  husband  and  wife ; 
they  are  completely  complementary  to  each  other;  and  a 
more  intimate  union  could  hardly  be  imagined  ;  —  a  union  at 
which  all  who  know  them,  who  love  and  honor  them,  who 
realize  the  tenderness  of  her  nature  and  the  nobility  of  his, 
rejoice  with  a  full  heart,  and  which  has  given  them  ten  years 
of  almost  perfect  happiness.  Out  of  this  late  happiness,  with 
life,  and  strength,  and  health,  what  lovelier  work  than  ever 
before  may  yet  blossom  from  Rose  Terry  Cooke's  hands ! 


CHAPTER  IX. 
CHAELOTTE    CUSHMAN. 

BY  LILIAN  WHITING. 

Charlotte  Cushman's  Childhood  —  Her  Keinarkable  Imitative  Faculty  —  First 
Appearance  on  the  Stage  —  A  Scanty  Stage  Wardrobe  —  A  Friend  in  Need 

—  An    Amusing    Experience  —  The    Struggle  for    Fame  —  Macready's 
Sympathy  and  Influence— First  Visit  to  Europe  — "Waiting  in  the 
Shadow"— Debut   in    London  — A   Brilliant    Triumph  — Her    Ability 
Recognized  at  Last  in  her  Native  Land  —  Glimpse  of  her  Life  in  Rome — 
Unfaltering  Patriotism  —  Her  Munificent  Gift  to  the  Sanitary  Commission 

—  The  Culmination  of  her  Power — A  Notable  Dramatic  Triumph  —  Her 
Farewell  to  the  Stage  —  Address  of  William  Cullen  Bryant  —  Miss  Cush- 
man's Response  —  Her  Illness,  Death,  and  Last  Resting-Place. 

After  my  death  I  wish  no  other  herald, 
No  other  speaker  of  my  living  actions, 
To  keep  mine  honor  from  corruption 
Than  such  an  honest  chronicler  as  Griffith. 

—  Queen  Katherine. 

N  attempting  any  interpretation  of  the  artist,  it  is 
in  the  inner  life  that  we  must  seek  the  clue. 
Thoughts  are  his  events,  and  creations  are  his 
only  real  achievements.  Genius  controls  its 
possessor,  and  life  becomes  a  journey  under 
sealed  orders,  advancing  less  by  development 
than  by  crises  of  surprises  and  revelations. 
The  proverbial  unrest  of  genius  is  the  result  of 
this  law. 

That  divine  fruition  of  creative  power  which  we  call  Art 
is  the  result  of  intricate  elements.  Into  its  forces  enter  in- 
herited instincts,  the  rude  powers  of  material  necessity,  and 
those  invisible  but  potent  tides  of  spiritual  life.  Yet  back 
of  these,  and  defying  all  analysis,  is  always  the  elusive  force, 
the  element  of  the  unknown.  In  studying  the  life  of  Miss 
Cushman,  this  great  fact  of  the  elusive  force  that  defies 
analysis  emphasizes  itself  to  us.  In  vain  we  seek  its  source 
in  her  parentage  or  in  the  external  circumstances  of  her  life. 

207 


208  CHAKLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

Charlotte  Saunders  Cushman  was  born  in  Richmond  street, 
in  Boston,  July  23,  1816.  She  died  at  the  Parker  House, 
in  Boston,  February  18,  1876,  in  the  nation's  centennial  year. 
In  the  sixty  years  between  these  dates  a  wonderful  life  was 
lived.  A  girl  born  into  humble  and  primitive  conditions 
goes  forth  and  conquers  a  world. 

She  was  the  daughter  of  Elkanah  and  Mary  Eliza  (Babbit) 
Cushman.  Her  father  was  born  in  Plymouth.  Left  an 
orphan  at  the  age  of  thirteen,  he  wralked  to  Boston  in  search 
of  employment  and  began  the  conscious  struggle  of  life.  He 
established  himself  in  business  as  a  merchant  on  Long  Wharf, 
but  when  Charlotte  was  thirteen  years  of  age  he  met  with 
such  reverses  as  impelled  her,  child  as  she  was,  to  consider 
how  she  could  rely  on  herself.  Hereditary  instincts  were 
strong  forces  within  her.  For  generations  back,  on  the  part 
of  both  parents,  her  ancestors  had  been  exceptional  for  in- 
dustry, energy,  and  piety. 

It  is  believed  that  Robert  Cushman,  the  founder  of  the 
family  in  America,  born  about  1580,  preached  the  first  ser- 
mon in  New  England,  and  it  was  he  to  whom  Governor  Brad- 
ford alludes  as  "the  right  hand  of  the  Adventurers,  who  for 
divers  years  has  managed  all  our  business  with  them  to  our 
great  advantage."  Elkanah  Cushman,  the  father  of  Char- 
lotte, was  the  seventh  generation  in  descent  from  Robert 
Cushman,  and  the  fifth  bearing  the  name  of  Elkanah.  The 
Babbit  family,  too,  were  honorably  known.  The  maternal 
grandfather  and  great-grandfather  of  Charlotte  Cushman  were 
graduates  of  Harvard  University.  Her  grandmother  Babbit 
(born  Mary  Saunders)  was  gifted  with  a  remarkable  degree 
of  the  imitative  faculty,  and  this  gift  Charlotte  inherited  to  an 
extent  that  made  her,  as  a  child,  un  enfant  terrible,  and 
which  in  later  years  imparted  an  added  vitality  to  her  dra- 
matic power. 

Of  her  childhood  Miss  Cushman  herself  said :  "  Imitation 
was  a  prevailing  trait  with  me.  On  one  occasion,  when 
Henry  Ware,  pastor  of  the  old  Boston  Meeting-House,  was 
taking  tea  with  my  mother,  he  sat  at  table  talking,  with  his 


Illlt 


CHARLOTTE    CUSHMAN. 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAtf.  211 

chin  resting  in  his  two  hands,  and  his  elbows  on  the  table.  I 
was  suddenly  startled  by  my  mother  exclaiming,  '  Charlotte, 
take  your  elbows  off  the  table  and  your  chin  out  of  your 
hands  ;  it  is  not  a  pretty  position  for  a  young  lady  ! '  I  was 
sitting  in  exact  imitation  of  the  parson,  even  assuming  the 
expression  of  his  face." 

In  early  youth  Charlotte's  special  gift  appeared  to  be 
music.  She  received  in  it  careful  cultivation.  She  sang  in 
church  choirs,  and  a  few  years  later,  about  1834-35,  when 
Mrs.  Wood  came  first  to  sing  in  Boston,  and  inquiries  being 
made  for  a  contralto  singer  to  support  her,  Miss  Cushman  was 
recommended.  The  result  of  a  trial  was  satisfactory,  and 
both  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Wood  assured  her  that  she  had  a  fortune 
in  her  voice  if  properly  cultivated  for  the  lyric  stage.  She 
became  a  pupil  of  James  G.  Maeder,  and  under  his  instruc- 
tion made  her  first  appearance  in  the  role  of  Countess  Alma- 
viva,  in  the  "  Marriage  of  Figaro,"  at  the  Tremont  Theatre, 
Following  this  she  went  to  New  Orleans  and  sang,  when, 
almost  without  warning,  her  voice  failed.  This  marked  the 
second  of  those  distinct  crises  which  one  traces  in  studying 
critically  the  life  of  this  remarkable  woman,  and  which  sug- 
gest the  changes  to  which  Emerson  refers  as  those  that  break 
up  the  currents  of  life,  but  which  are  advertisements  of  a 
nature  where  law  is  growth. 

To  Charlotte  Cushman  each  of  these  successive  crises  of 
life  came  as  the  stepping-stone  to  larger  experiences,  till  of 
them  she  might  well  have  said :  — 

Build  thee  more  stately  mansions,  O  my  soul ! 

As  the  swift  seasons  roll; 

Leave  thy  low  vaulted  past, 

Let  each  new  temple,  statelier  than  the  last, 

Shut  thee  from  heaven  with  a  dome  more  vast, 

Till  thou  at  length  art  free, 

Leaving  thine  outgrown  cell  by  life's  unresting  sea. 

But  it  was  reserved  for  the  insight  that  results  from 
experience  to  enter  into  the  profound  truth  of  these  lines. 


212  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

The  girl's  eagerness  and  tremulous  anticipation  had  not  then 
deepened  to  the  woman's  endurance  and  the  conviction  of 
personal  power.  She  was  left  stranded  as  it  were  by  a 
seeming  misfortune,  which  is  often  only  fortune  in  disguise. 
So  it  proved  to  Charlotte  Cushman.  Her  dramatic  ten- 
dencies and  latent  possibilities  had  revealed  themselves  to 
others,  and  she  was  asked  to  essay  the  rdle  of  Lady  Mac- 
beth to  the  Macbeth  of  Mr.  Caldwell  in  the  principal  theatre 
of  New  Orleans.  With  characteristic  inspiration  she  seized 
the  opportunity.  "So  enraptured  was  I  with  the  idea  of 
acting  this  part,  and  so  fearful  of  anything  preventing  me," 
she  wrote  of  it  later,  "that  I  did  not  tell  the  manager  I  had 
no  dresses  until  it  was  too  late  for  me  to  be  prevented  from 
acting  it ;  and  the  day  before  the  performance  after  rehearsal 
I  told  him.  He  immediately  sat  down  and  wrote  a  note  of 
introduction  for  me  to  the  tragedienne  of  the  French  Theatre. 
This  note  was  to  ask  her  to  help  me  to  costumes  for  the 
role  of  Lady  Macbeth.  I  was  a  tall,  thin,  lanky  girl  at  that 
time,  about  five  feet  six  inches  in  height.  The  French- 
woman, Madame  Closel,  was  a  short,  fat  person  of  not  more 
than  four  feet  ten  inches,  her  waist  full  twice  the  size  of 
mine,  with  a  very  large  bust ;  but  her  shape  did  not  prevent 
her  being  a  very  great  actress.  The  ludicrousness  of  her 
clothes  being  made  to  fit  me  struck  her  at  once.  She  roared 
with  laughter ;  but  she  was  very  good-natured,  and  by  dint 
of  piecing  out  the  skirt  of  one  dress  it  was  made  to  answer 
for  an  underskirt,  and  another  dress  was  taken  in  in  every 
direction  to  do  duty  as  an  overdress,  and  so  make  up  the 
costume.  And  thus  I  essayed  for  the  first  time  the  part  of 
Lady  Macbeth,  fortunately  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  audience, 
the  manager,  and  all  the  members  of  the  company." 

Here  Charlotte  Cushman  struck  the  keynote  of  her  life, 
and  although  it  was  appointed  for  her  to  sound  the  whole 
scale  of  difficulty,  and  denial,  and  defeat;  —  of  aspiration, 
and  triumph,  and  inspiration,  yet  here  as  an  untried  girl  she 
touched  the  supreme  possibilities -of  her  artistic  life.  From 
it  her  path  was  to  lead  away  in  many  labyrinthine  turnings 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN.  213 

till  she  might  well  have  questioned  whether  she  would  ever 
come  to  her  own.  Unseen  faces  were  to  break  up  all  the  old 
relations  of  her  life,  to  force  her  out  under  new  skies  and  to 
experiences  prefigured  in  her  dreams  and  awaiting  her  in 
actual  guise. 

At  the  close  of  the  New  Orleans  season  she  embarked  in  a 
sailing-vessel  for  New  York.  Mr.  Simpson,  manager  of  the 
Park  Theatre,  offered  her  a  trial,  but  in  a  part  that  seemed 
to  her,  coming  fresh  from  her  New  Orleans  triumph  in  Lady 
Macbeth,  too  insignificant.  Finally  she  accepted  an  offer 
from  the  Bowery  Theatre,  where  she  entered  into  a  three 
years'  engagement  at  a  salary  of  twenty-five  dollars  per 
week,  to  increase  ten  dollars  a  week  each  year.  She  was  to 
appear  in  Lady  Macbeth,  Jane  Shore,  Mrs.  Holler,  and 
other  characters.  She  had  no  wardrobe,  and  this  the  man- 
ager offered  to  procure,  deducting  five  dollars  per  week  from 
her  salary  to  meet  the  expenses.  Miss  Cushman  at  once 
induced  her  mother  to  leave  the  boarding-house  she  was 
keeping  in  Boston,  and  join  her  with  two  of  her  brothers  in 
New  York.  For  her  elder  brother  she  procured  a  situation 
in  a  store,  putting  the  younger  at  school.  So  the  little 
household  in  New  York  was  established  and  supposed  to  be 
on  a  firm  foundation  for  three  years. 

The  week  before  her  engagement  at  the  theatre  was  to  begin 
she  was  seized  with  rheumatic  fever ;  recovering  after  three 
weeks,  she  went  upon  the  stage,  and  at  the  end  of  that  week 
the  theatre  was  burned,  with  all  her  wardrobe,  all  her  debt  on 
it,  and  her  three  years'  contract  ending,  she  said,  in  smoke. 

Then  followed  a  brief  engagement  at  Albany,  which  was  a 
triumphant  success,  and  where,  as  Miss  Cushman  laughingly 
narrated,  more  members  of  both  houses  of  the  General 
Assembly  could  be  found  at  her  benefit  than  at  the  Capitol. 

Following  this  came  an  engagement  at  the  Park  Theatre  in 
New  York,  in  some  minor  position,  at  a  salary  of  twenty 
dollars  per  week ;  a  period  of  some  three  or  four  years  — 
from  the  time  she  was  twenty-one  to  twenty-four  or  five  — 
of  ceaseless  study,  activity,  and  nebulous  projects.  Macready 


214  CHAELOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

came  and  she  supported  him.  "  Even  with  this  great  and 
cultivated  artist,"  wrote  an  English  critic  who  saw  her  at  this 
time,  "she  held  her  own.  She  had  not  his  experience,  but 
she  had  genius.  There  were  times  when  she  more  than 
rivalled  him ;  when  in  truth  she  made  him  play  second." 

In  the  winter  of  1842,  a  young  woman  of  twenty-six  years 
of  age,  she  undertook  the  sublime  audacity  of  managing  the 
Walnut  Street  Theatre  of  Philadelphia.  Her  company  in- 
cluded Messrs.  Chippendale,  Fredericks,  and  Wheatleigh, 
Alexina  Fisher,  the  Misses  Vallee,  one  of  whom  was  after- 
wards the  wife  of  Ben  DeBar,  her  sister  Susan  Cushman,  and 
others ;  she  served  herself  as  leading  lady,  acting  her  large 
repertoire. 

Time  passed  on,  and  in  October,  1844,  Miss  Cushman 
sailed  for  England.  Her  finances  ran  low ;  a  benefit  per- 
formance given  in  her  native  Boston  met  little  response. 
The  cultured  Hub  has  small  faith  in  the  possibility  of  entertain- 
ing angels  unawares.  It  insists  on  visible  wings,  and  full 
credentials,  after  which  it  cannot  be  surpassed  in  polite 
courtesy.  The  city  in  which  Hawthorne  sat  neglected,  and 
wrote  sadly  of  himself  "  as  the  most  obscure  man  of  letters  of 
the  day,"  permitted  this  young  woman,  whose  brilliant 
genius  was  destined  to  honor  above  all  others  her  native  city, 
to  go  out  from  it  with  a  benefit  attended  by  an  audience  de- 
scribed by  the  press  of  that  day  as  "  ungenerously  small  and 
largely  made  up  of  foreigners.''  However,  this  did  not 
matter.  That  Boston  failed  to  discern  the  genius  of  Haw- 
thorne or  of  Charlotte  Cushman  in  its  early  manifestations 
was  not,  on  the  whole,  to  be  regretted.  "  The  man  is  not 
worth  much,"  says  the  brilliant  Autocrat,  "who  cannot  treat 
himself  to  an  interval  of  modesty."  Genius  will  cut  its  own 
channels,  whether  the  world  deride  or  applaud.  When 
Jupiter  divided  the  goods  of  the  world  the  poet  was  absent, 
lost  in  a  day-dream.  Returning,  he  reproached  the  god  for 
saving  none  for  him.  "  True,  there  is  nothing  left  to  give 
you,"  replied  Jupiter,  "but  my  heaven  is  always  open  to 
you."  The  legend  is  vital  with  truth.  Heaven  is  always 


CHARLOTTE   CUSHMAN.  215 

open  to  the  artist,  and  if  the  world  —  albeit  Beacon  street  — 
prove  inhospitable,  he  has  his  resources  and  his  inspirations. 
Charlotte  Cushman  found  hers.  Under  new  skies  a  new  life 
began.  Yet  with  what  a  combination  of  fainting  heart  and 
tenacity  of  purpose  she  went  forth  words  are  powerless  to 
picture. 

The  winter  she  passed  in  Albany  was  made  memorable  by 
the  anticipations  of  all  that  constitutes  a  woman's  fairest  and 
holiest  life.  For  the  first  and  last  time  love  came  to  her ; 
yet,  while  she  "  dreamed  and  thought  life  was  beauty,"  came 
the  rude  awakening  to  find  that  for  her  "  life  was  duty." 
Turning  from  the  clasp  of  arms  strong  and  tender  and  sustain- 
ing, she  found  herself  alone,  with  only  the  wreck  of  a 
vanished  happiness,  and  the  memory  of  "  the  tender  grace  of  a 
day"  that  was  forever  dead.  It  is  idle  to  repeat  the  story  in 
detail.  It  was  all  over  so  long  ago.  Of  it  Charlotte  Cush- 
man herself  wrote, — 

"  There  was  a  time  in  my  life  of  girlhood  when  I  thought 
I  had  been  called  upon  to  bear  the  very  hardest  thing  that  can 
come  to  a  woman.  Yet,  if  I  had  been  spared  this  early  trial, 
I  should  never  have  been  so  earnest  and  faithful  in  my  art ; 
I  should  have  still  been  casting  about  for  the '  counterpart/ 
and  not  given  my  entire  self  to  my  work.  God  helped  me  in 
my  art-isolation,  and  rewarded  me  for  recognizing  Him  and 
helping  myself.  ...  My  art,  God  knows,  has  never  failed 
me, — never  failed  to  bring  me  rich  reward,  never  failed  to 
bring  me  comfort.  I  conquered  my  grief  and  myself. 
Labor  saved  me  then  and  always,  and  so  I  proved  the  eternal 
goodness  of  God." 

The  influence  of  Macready  was  doubtless  a  potent  element 
in  Miss  Cushman's  resolve  to  put  fortune  to  the  test  by  going 
abroad.  "Come  to  England,"  he  had  said  to  her,  "where 
your  talents  will  be  appreciated  at  their  true  value.'*  Yet  it 
was  with  an  almost  desperate  resolve  to  win  success,  rather 
than  with  any  rose-colored  anticipations  of  meeting  it,  that 
Charlotte  Cushman  sailed  on  her  voyage,  which  was  the 
threshold  of  that  wonderful  life  awaiting  her.  Goethe's 


216  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

emphasis  of  the  parting  of  the  ways  is  one  that  every  life, 
which  is  at  all  distinctive  in  its  aims  or  individual  in  its 
method,  repeats.  The  defined  separation  from  the  original 
point  of  departure  can  be  discerned. 

In  her  diary  on  this  voyage  she  copied  from  Longfellow's 
"  Hyperion,"  as  if  to  reassure  herself,  the  words  :  "  Look  not 
mournfully  into  the  past ;  it  comes  not  back  again.  Wisely 
improve  the  present,  it  is  thine.  Go  forth  to  meet  the  future 
without  fear  and  with  a  manly  heart." 

And  again  she  found  courage  and  inspiration  in  the  lines 
from  Browning's  "  Paracelsus  "  :  — 

"  What  though 

It  be  so?  —  if  indeed  the  strong  desire 
Eclipse  the  aim  in  me  ?  —  if  splendor  break 
Upon  the  outset  of  my  path  alone, 
And  duskest  shade  succeed  ?    What  fairer  seal 
Shall  I  require  to  my  authentic  mission 
Than  this  fierce  energy?  —  this  instinct  striving 
Because  its  nature  is  to  strive? — enticed 
By  the  security  of  no  broad  course, 
With  no  success  forever  in  its  eyes ! 
How  know  I  else  such  glorious  fate  my  own, 
But  in  the  restless,  irresistible  force 
That  works  within  me?    Is  it  for  human  will 
To  institute  such  impulses  —  still  less 
To  disregard  their  promptings?     What  should  I 
Do,  kept  among  you  all ;  your  loves,  your  cares, 
Your  life, —  all  to  be  mine  ?    Be  sure  that  God 
Ne'er  dooms  to  waste  the  strength  he  deigns  impart ! " 

Miss  Cushman  arrived  in  England  November  18,  1844. 
Her  first  movement  was  a  little  excursion  into  Scotland  with 
an  agreeable  party  of  friends,  and  later,  while  waiting  the 
slow  course  of  theatrical  engagements,  whose  methods  exhibit 
as  little  rapidity  as  the  mills  of  the  gods,  she  dashed  over  to 
Paris  with  characteristic  energy,  and  for  ten  days  put  herself 
en  rapport  with  the  French  stage,  which  left  on  her  a  per- 
manent impression.  Returning  to  England  she  found  a 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN.  217 

letter  from  Macready,  with  the  proposition  that  she  should 
appear  in  a  company  with  himself  and  Miss  Fauci t.  This 
proposal  she  rejected,  as  it  would  place  her  in  an  apparent 
competition  with  Miss  Faucit,  who  was  at  that  time  the 
favorite  of  the  English  public,  and  she  retired  into  humble 
lodgings  in  London  to  await  her  destiny. 

The  faithful  maid,  Sally  Mercer,  without  a  reference  to 
whom  any  sketch  of  Miss  Cushman  were  incomplete,  was 
with  her,  and  acted,  as  Miss  Cushman  herself  said,  as 
her  "right  hand."  It  was  a  period  of  that  waiting  "in  the 
shadow  "  which  so  often  precedes  the  most  brilliant  achieve- 
ment. She  registered  her  determination  at  a  high  standard 
and  by  inherent  force  compelled  her  own  conditions. 

Her  first  appearance  in  London  was  made  at  the  Princess's 
Theatre,  in  the  rdle  of  Bianca  in  "  Fazio."  Of  her  debut 
the  London  "  Times "  said :  "  The  great  characteristics  of 
Miss  Cushman  are  her  earnestness,  her  intensity,  her  quick 
apprehension  of  '  readings,'  her  power  to  dart  from  emotion 
to  emotion  with  the  greatest  rapidity,  as  if  carried  on  the 
impulse  alone.  .  .  .  We  need  hardly  to  say  that  Miss  Cush- 
man is  likely  to  prove  a  great  acquisition  to  the  London 
stage.  For  passion  —  real,  impetuous,  irresistible  passion 
—  she  has  not  at  present  her  superior." 

The  next  rdle  in  which  she  appeared  was  Rosalind,  in  "As 
You  Like  It."  The  last  line  of  this  critique  indicates  that  the 
large  inclusiveness  of  Miss  Cushman's  was  the  predetermining 
element  in  her  great  success.  Versatility  is  strength.  The 
force  that  goes  to  each  effort  becomes  the  force  of  all. 

In  the  following  March  Miss  Cushman  thus  writes  to  her 
mother :  "  By  the  packet  of  the  10th  I  wrote  you  and  sent 
newspapers,  which  could  tell  you  in  so  much  better  language 
than  I  could  of  my  brilliant  and  triumphant  success  in  Lon- 
don. I  can  say  no  more  to  you  than  this :  that  it  is  far, 
far  beyond  my  most  sanguine  expectations.  In  my  most 
ambitious  moments  I  never  dreamed  of  the  success  which  has 
awaited  me  and  crowned  every  effort  I  have  made.  ...  To 
you  I  should  not  hesitate  to  tell  all  my  grief  and  all  my 
14 


218  CHARLOTTE   CUSHMAN. 

failure  if  it  had  not  been  such,  for  none  could  have  felt  more 
with  me  and  for  me.  Why,  then,  should  I  hesitate  (unless 
through  a  fear  that  I  might  seem  egotistical)  to  tell  }'ou  all 
my  triumphs,  all  my  success?  Suffice  it,  all  my  successes  put 
together  since  I  have  been  upon  the  stage  would  not  come  near 
my  success  in  London ;  and  I  only  wanted  some  one  of  you 
here  to  enjoy  it  with  me,  to  make  it  complete. 

"I  have  played  Bianca  four  times,  Emilia  twice,  Lady 
Macbeth  six  times,  Mrs.  Haller  live,  and  Rosalind  five,  in 
five  weeks.  I  am  sitting  to  five  artists." 

In  this  winter  of  1844-45  the  life  of  Charlotte  Cushman 
[lowered  into  bloom  and  fragrance.  She  was  then  in  her 
twenty-ninth  year,  —  a  time  when  the  girl's  first  flush  of  eager- 
ness had  not  faded,  while  it  was  still  reinforced  by  the  calm 
poise  of  woman's  strength.  Friendships  crowded  her  life  with 
beauty.  The  most  distinguished  literary  and  artistic  people 
of  that  day  sought  in  her  sympathy  and  society.  Like 
Margaret  Fuller,  like  all  great  and  gifted  spirits,  Charlotte 
Cushman  had  a  capacity  for  friendship.  Hers  was  a  nature 
large  enough  to  include  a  wide  range  of  sympathies.  Earn- 
estness was  the  keynote  to  her  spiritual  scale.  A  prominent 
dramatic  critic  said  that  the  secret  of  her  success  on  the  stage 
was  that  "  she  is  in  earnest  in  everything  she  undertakes." 

The  currents  of  social  sympathy  that  set  toward  Charlotte 
Cushman  during  her  first  London  winter  were  indicated  by 
the  verses  that  were  written,  the  pictures  that  were  painted, 
in  her  honor,  and  from  the  inspiration  of  her  life.  Eliza 
Cook  celebrated  in  verse  her  friendship.  The  poet  Eodgers 
sought  her  out.  Breakfasts  and  other  entertainments  were 
given  for  her. 

Her  London  success  made  success  in  the  provinces  a  fore- 
gone conclusion  ;  indeed,  it  thus  predetermined  and  prefigured 
the  success  of  her  entire  future.  For  when  an  individual 
life  has  registered  a  certain  degree  of  attainment  it  has 
thereby  gained  an  impulse  that  moves  with  accelerated  im- 
petus to  its  final  achievement. 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAK  219 

In  the  following  autumn  Miss  Cushman  summoned  her  family 
to  London,  where  they  took  a  furnished  cottage  at  the  suburb 
of  Bayswater,  and  where  she  and  her  sister  Susan  studied 
together  the  roles  of  "Romeo  and  Juliet,"  in  which  they 
appeared  at  the  Hay  market  Theatre,  making  their  d6but  in 
that  play  on  the  night  of  December  30,  1845.  It  would  not 
have  been  the  natural  choice  of  Charlotte  Cushman  to  appear 
in  male  character,  but  by  enacting  Romeo  she  could  support 
her  sister  as  Juliet,  and  the  rdle  provided  opportunities  to 
which  she  was  fully  equal. 

A  prolonged  tour  through  the  provinces  followed,  during 
which  the  sisters  played  in  all  the  prominent  cities  of  Great 
Britain,  and  during  the  succeeding  summer  Miss  Cushman 
visited  Switzerland,  where  she  was  more  enchanted  than  she 
had  dreamed  of  being,  and  from  whence  she  returned  to  Lon- 
don with  new  inspirations,  caught  from  the  mountain  heights. 
Somewhere  about  this  time  Miss  Jewsbury,  who  was  Char- 
lotte Cushman's  faithful  friend,  wrote  to  her,  saying  thai 
"you  are  not  a  machine,  but  a  woman  of  genius,"  and  insist- 
ing that  she  must  not  be  discouraged  if  a  reaction  followed  so 
great  an  excitement. 

It  is  wonderful  how  in  all  this  unrest  and  nervous  tension 
of  her  professional  struggle  she  kept  herself  up  to  a  certain 
level  of  serenity  and  repose.  It  is  recorded  that  she  <f  made 
many  friends  of  quiet  domestic  people,"  and  she  herself  told 
how  she  "  tried  always  to  keep  her  prow  turned  toward  good." 
To  a  young  friend  who  had  histrionic  aspirations  she  wrote  at 
this  time  :  "  I  should  advise  you  to  get  to  work.  .  .  .  You 
must  suffer,  labor  and  wait  before  you  will  be  able  to  grasp 
the  true  and  the  beautiful.  You  dream  of  it  now ;  the  in- 
tensity of  life  that  is  in  you,  the  spirit  of  poetry  which  makes 
itself  heard  by  you  in  indistinct  language,  needs  work  to 
relieve  itself  and  be  made  clear." 

With  all  Charlotte  Cushman's  capacity  for  friendship  — 
and  those  words  signify  a  great  deal,  this  capacity  for  friend- 
ship —  she  was,  as  every  artist  must  be,  severe  in  the  sense 
of  selection.  She  was  as  discriminative  as  she  was  generous 


220  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

in  response.  While  she  would  sacrifice  personal  ease  and  even 
personal  achievement  for  a  life  that  needed  it,  and  in  which 
this  sacrifice  would  be  as  seed  to  take  root  and  grow,  she  had 
withal  the  delicate  intuition  of  the  artist  nature  ;  its  instinct 
of  preservation  not  to  waste  itself  needlessly. 

In  1845-46  Miss  Cushman  was  associated  with  James  Wai- 
lack,  whose  influence  was  educative  to  her  in  her  art.  In  the 
summer  of  1849  she  returned  to  America,  playing  a  brilliant 
series  of  engagements  throughout  the  country.  The  nightly 
average  of  her  receipts  was  greater  than  had  been  Macready's. 
The  woman  who  had  gone  out  alone  from  her  native  country 
five  years  before  clinging  to  the  faith  that  — 

"Be  sure  that  God 
Ne'er  dooms  to  waste  the  strength  He  deigns  impart ! " 

returned  with  recognized  honor  and  with  a  permanent  place 
awarded  her  in  histrionic  art. 

In  October,  1852,  Miss  Cushman  first  visited  the  Eternal 
City  in  company  with  Harriet  Hosmer,  who  was  then  on  her 
way  to  study  art  in  Rome,  and  with  Grace  Greenwood.  Dur- 
ing this  winter  Page's  portrait  of  her  was  painted,  — the  pic- 
ture preserved  at  Villa  Cushman  at  Newport.  It  is  of  this 
portrait,  painted  when  she  was  thirty-six  years  of  age,  that 
Paul  Akers  said :  "  It  is  a  face  rendered  impressive  by  the 
grandest  repose,  — a  repose  not  to  be  mistaken  for  serenity, 
but  which  is  in  equilibrium." 

In  January,  1856,  she  was  in  England  and  gave  a  dinner  to 
Mme.  Ristori,  whose  first  visit  it  was  to  London.  For  Ris- 
tori's  acting,  as  well  as  for  Salvini's,  Miss  Cushman  had  the 
greatest  admiration.  Throughout  her  life  she  preferred  the 
natural  to  the  conventional  school  of  acting ;  yet  the  Thedtre 
Fran$ais  seems  to  have  impressed  her,  as  it  did  Miss  Kate 
Field,  who,  in  her  brilliant  and  glowing  biography  of  Fech- 
ter,  describes  her  own  feelings  when,  after  having  been  from 
childhood  under  the  influence  of  the  natural  school  of  acting, 
she  first  witnessed  the  French  drama.  Miss  Cushman  always 
preferred  Ristori  to  Rachel,  perhaps  somewhat  from  the  Puri- 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN.  221 

tan  in  her,  which  recognized  a  kindred  nobility  of  character 
in  Ristori. 

The  winter  of  1856-57  again  found  Miss  Cushman  in  Kome, 
and  it  was  at  this  time  that  she  first  met  Miss  Emma  Stebbins, 
her  friend  and  future  biographer.  This  was  a  winter  rich  in 
all  that  makes  the  fulness  of  life.  A  party  of  congenial 
friends  were  with  her.  Her  ' '  evenings "  were  the  occasions 
of  charming  social  reunions.  Her  musical  gift  was  exercised 
freely,  and  memories  are  yet  vivid  of  her  rich  voice  in  "  Wilt 
Thou  not  Visit  Me?"  or  the  touching  pathos  with  which  she 
rendered  Kingsley's  ballad  of  "  The  Sands  o'  Dee."  Gounod's 
"There's  a  Green  Hill  Far  Away"  was  among  her  favorite 
musical  selections.  Of  Miss  Cushman's  home  in  Rome,  Miss 
Stebbins  says :  "  This  home  was  a  genuine  one,  and  so  grew 
every  year  more  and  more  in  harmony  with  the  true  hospita- 
ble nature  of  its  mistress.  Its  walls  gradually  became  cov- 
ered with  choice  pictures  and  such  sculpture  as  there  was 
space  for ;  but  its  chief  beauty  consisted  in  its  antique  carved 
furniture,  its  abundance  of  books,  and  the  patent  fact  that 
every  part  and  parcel  of  it  was  for  daily  use,  and  nothing  for 
mere  show." 

Among  Miss  Cushman's  friends  at  this  period  was  Miss  Isa 
Blagdon,  who  was  also  an  intimate  friend  of  the  Brownings, 
and  to  whose  memory  Florence  erected  a  commemorative 
tablet  after  her  death,  in  1873.  Miss  Elizabeth  Peabody 
shared  Miss  Cushman's  generous  hospitality  in  Rome,  and 
chronicles  the  months  as  rich  in  enjoyment.  "  But  even 
amid  the  glories  of  Rome,"  says  Miss  Peabody,  "there  was 
nothing  that  I  studied  with  more  interest  and  intensity  than 
Miss  Cushman." 

Of  the  morning  talks  at  Miss  Cushman's  home,  Elizabeth 
Peabody  writes :  "  Can  you,  or  anybody  with  mortal  pen, 
describe  so  that  readers  could  realize  the  high-toned,  artistic, 

o 

grandly-moral,  delightfully-hurnan  nature,  that  seemed  to  be 
the  palpable  atmosphere  of  her  spirit,  quickening  all  who 
surrendered  themselves  to  her  influence?  What  sincerity, 
what  appreciation  of  truth  and  welcome  of  it  (even  if  it 


222  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

wounded  her)  ;  what  bounteousness  of  nature  ;  and  how  the 
breath  of  her  mouth  winnowed  the  chaff'  from  the  wheat  in 
her  expression  of  observed  character  and  judgment  of  con- 
duct." 

When  the  war  of  the  rebellion  came  it  affected  Miss  Gush- 
man  deeply.  She  was  firm  in  her  conviction,  even  in  the 
early  days,  that  the  war  would  never  end  until  slavery  was 
abolished.  Her  patriotism  was  unfaltering  all  through  those 
years  of  a  nation's  agony.  In  June,  1863,  she  returned  to 
her  native  country,  her  chief  reason  being  to  act  for  the 
sanitary  fund.  In  the  report  of  Henry  W.  Bellows,  president 
of  the  Sanitary  Commission,  the  sum  of  $8,267.29  is  credited 
to  Charlotte  Cushman,  and  Mr.  Bellows  says:  "It  is  due 
to  Miss  Cushman  to  say  that  this  extraordinary  gift  of  money, 
so  magically  evoked  by  her  spell,  is  but  the  least  part  of 
the  service  which  ever  since  the  war  began  she  has  rendered." 

The  outward  events  of  Miss  Cushman's  life  in  the  decade 
of  1860  to  1870  were  to  an  unusual  degree  a  translation  of 
her  inner  experience  :  a  materialization,  as  it  were,  of  thought 
and  feeling.  They  were  the  years  of  the  culmination  of  her 
power  as  an  artist,  and  of  the  finest  fruition  of  her  woman- 
hood. During  the  years  1865-66  she  is  again  in  Rome,  and 
writing  home  letters  freighted  with  valuable  literary  expres- 
sions. Of  Browning's  "  Saul "  she  says  :  "  It  is  so  very  fine, 
full  of  grandeur  and  meaning."  Of  Whittier  she  writes : 
"He  is  a  true  soul,  with  a  pure  poet's  heart."  Her  letters  to 
Miss  Fanny  Seward  are  strong  in  expressions  of  her  feeling 
for  America. 

The  latter  years  of  her  life  developed  her  talent  for 
dramatic  reading.  It  is  said  she  liked  better  to  read  "  Mac- 
beth "  than  to  act  it.  In  her  wide  repertoire  she  had  included 
the  male  parts  of  Romeo,  Hamlet,  and  Cardinal  Wolsey. 
In  Hamlet  she  had  an  intuitive  perception  of  the  poetic  power 
of  the  character,  and  entered  into  its  psychological  mystery 
by  a  power  of  spiritual  insight,  of  fine  divination,  that  has 
been  almost  unprecedented  in  the  history  of  the  stage.  Her 
Cardinal  Wolsey  was  a  magnificent  triumph.  In  complete 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN.  223 

contrast  to  these  roles  were  her  Rosalind,  Beatrice,  Juliana, 
and  Lady  Gay  fipanker.  The  three  greatest  roles  of  her 
dramatic  life  were,  without  doubt,  her  Lady  Macbeth,  her 
Meg  Merriles,  and  her  Queen  Katherine.  "As  Meg  Mer- 
riles,"  said  William  Winter,  "  she  obeyed  the  law  of  her  own 
nature ;  as  Queen  Katherine,  she  obeyed  the  law  of  the  poetic 
ideal  that  encompassed  her.  Her  best  achievements  in  the 
illustration  of  Shakspeare  were  accordingly  of  the  highest 
order  of  art.  They  were  at  once  human  and  poetic.  They 
were  white  marble  suffused  with  fire." 

Contemporary  dramatic  criticism  is  always  valuable,  and 
preserves,  as  by  a  picture,  the  art  of  the  actor.  An  engage- 
ment in  Chicago  was  made  pleasantly  memorable  to  Miss 
Cushman  by  the  presentation  of  a  ring  in  black  enamel,  on 
which,  in  gold  letters,  was  the  inscription,  "Kind  words. 
McVicker's  Theatre,  Jan.  11,  1873." 

The  last  engagement  at  Booth's  Theatre  in  New  York  was 
one  of  the  most  brilliant  of  her  life.  It  was  here  that  she 
took  her  final  leave  of  the  metropolitan  stage  in  the  play  of 
"  Macbeth,"  on  a  night  whose  performance  has  passed  into 
history  as  one  of  the  most  notable  dramatic  triumphs  in 
America.  It  was  the  evening  of  November  7,  1875. 

Both  Mrs.  Siddons  and  Macready  had  taken  leave  of  the 
stage  in  this  tragedy.  It  was  fitting  that  it  should  also  be 
the  farewell  play  of  Charlotte  Cushman. 

The  scene  that  night  was  one  of  marvellous  grandeur.  The 
house  was  made  up  of  people  distinguished  in  literature,  art, 
and  social  life.  It  is  thus  described  by  Mr. Winter  :  — 

"  The  house  was  brilliantly  illuminated,  and  it  was  deco- 
rated with  a  taste  at  once  profuse  and  delicate.  A  tricolor, 
spangled  with  golden  stars,  was  twined  about  the  proscenium 
columns,  and  hung  in  festoons  along  the  fronts  of  the  gal- 
leries. The  chandeliers  were  garlanded  with  autumn  leaves, 
and  with  leaves  and  fruit  of  the  vine,  —  symbolical  o^the 
maturity  of  that  genius  and  the  ripeness  of  that  fame  in  which 
Miss  Cushman  retires  from  the  theatre.  Banners  displaying 
the  arms  of  the  States  were  arranged  along  the  upper  tier. 


224  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

The  flag  of  the  Republic  formed  an  arch  over  the  central 
entrance,  and  flung  its  cheerful  and  hopeful  folds  over  the 
proscenium  boxes.  In  one  of  these  boxes,  inscribed  in 
golden  letters  with  the  name  of  the  Arcadian  Club,  —  which 
society  prompted  this  demonstration,  and  has  carried  it  for- 
ward to  signal  and  honorable  success,  —  sat  the  poet  Bryant, 
the  poet  Stoddard,  Peter  Cooper,  and  other  distinguished 
guests  of  the  club.  In  the  opposite  proscenium  box,  in- 
scribed with  the  name  of  the  Army  and  Navy  Club,  sat 
Major-General  Hancock,  Mr.  Tilden,  and  other  dignitaries  of 
peace  and  of  war.  Perfumes,  from  great  silver  braziers  upon 
the  stage,  made  the  air  fragrant,  and  the  dreamy  music  of 
the  dear  old  Scotch  melodies  turned  it  into  poetry  and 
attuned  every  heart  to  sympathy  with  the  spirit  of  the  time. 

"  It  was  about  eleven  o'clock  when  the  curtain  fell  upon  the 
tragedy.  The  curtain  rolled  up  again,  and  one  of  the  most 
distinguished  companies  that  have  ever  been  seen  in  a  pubiic 
place  came  into  view.  The  stage  was  crowded.  Prominent  in 
the  throng  were  Mr.  Wallack,  Mr.  Jefferson,  Mr.  Boucicault, 
Mr.  Gilbert,  Miss  Charlotte  Thompson,  and  other  professional 
friends  of  Miss  Cushman.  The  venerable  face  of  William 
Cullen  Bryant,  austere,  yet  tender,  shone  out  of  the  central 
throng.  Mr.  Charles  Roberts,  who  had  been  selected  by  the 
Arcadian  Club  to  read  Mr.  Stoddard's  ode,  appeared  at  the 
right  of  the  stand,  which  was  wrought  of  the  beautiful  floral 
testimonials  offered  to  Miss  Cushman.  The  actress  herself, 
hailed  by  plaudits  that  almost  shook  the  building,  entered 
and  took  her  place  upon  the  left  of  the  stage  ;  and  the  cere- 
monies of  farewell  began.  Mr.  Stoddard's  poem  carries  along 
with  it  its  own  testimonial.  It  is  conceived  and  written  in  a 
simple  spirit  and  style  ;  it  is  worthy  of  the  genuine  theme  and 
the  lofty  occasion ;  and  it  was  uttered  with  sympathy  and 
force,  and  received  with  every  mark  of  public  pleasure,  — 
the  applause  at  the  end  of  the  stanza  which  couples  Cushman 
with  Shakspeare  being  in  a  marked  degree  spontaneous  and 
emphatic." 

The  poet  Bryant  addressed  Miss  Cushman,  presenting  her 


CHAKLOTTE  CUSHMAtf.  225 

with  a  laurel-wreath  bound  with  white  ribbon,  resting  on  a 
purple  velvet  cushion.  Embroidered  in  golden  letters  was 
this  inscription :  — 


Palmam  <&ui  Jfteruit  Jfrrat 

18     JL  dL    74* 


"A.  C."  were  the  initials  of  the  Arcadian  Club. 

From  the  response  of  Miss  Cushman  is  extracted  this 
paragraph :  — 

"You  would  seem  to  compliment  me  upon  an  honorable 
life.  As  I  look  back  upon  that  life  it  seems  to  me  that  it 
would  have  been  absolutely  impossible  for  me  to  have  led  any 
other.  I  was,  by  circumstances,  thrown  at  an  early  age  into 
a  profession  for  which  I  had  received  no  special  education, 
but  I  had  already  been  brought  face  to  face  with  necessity. 
I  found  life  sadly  real  and  intensely  earnest;  and  in  my 
ignorance  of  other  ways  of  study,  I  resolved  to  take  there- 
from my  text  and  my  watchword ;  to  be  thoroughly  in 
earnest,  intensely  in  earnest,  in  all  my  thoughts  and  in  all  my 
actions,  whether  in  my  profession  or  out  of  it,  became  my 
one  single  idea.  And  I  honestly  believe  herein  lies  the 
secret  of  my  success  in  life.  I  do  not  believe  that  any  great 
success  in  any  art  can  be  achieved  without  it." 

The  song  of  "  Auld  Lang  Syne  "  was  sung  by  Mrs.  Annie 
Kemp  Bowler,  the  entire  audience  joining  in  the  chorus,  and 
with  this  and  the  applause  of  four  thousand  people  the  curtain 
fell  upon  the  farewell  appearance  of  Charlotte  Cushman. 
True,  she  appeared  on  the  stage  after  this  date,  playing  a 
notable  engagement  in  Philadelphia,  and  giving  readings  in 
Baltimore,  Washington,  Chicago,  Cincinnati,  and  St.  Louis; 
but  virtually  this  splendid  ovation  was  her  final  farewell. 


226  CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAIST. 

Her  last  appearance  before  a  Boston  public  was  made  in  the 
Globe  Theatre  in  May,  1875.  During  the  previous  winter 
she  had  first  seen  Ristori  in  "  Elizabeth"  and  "  Marie  Antoi- 
nette," and  of  her  Miss  Cushman  writes  to  a  friend  :  "  She  is 
the  greatest  woman  artist  I  have  ever  seen.  Such  perfect 
nature,  such  ease,  such  grace,  such  elegance  of  manner,  such 
as  befits  a  queen.  On  Monday  night  I  sat  in  the  directors' 
box,  holding  a  beautiful  bouquet  of  roses  and  lilies-of-the- 
valley  for  her.  As  I  lifted  the  bouquet  she  saw  it  and  came 
over  to  the  box.  She  is  near-sighted,  so  did  not  recognize  me 
until  she  came  near ;  then  she  gave  a  start  toward  me,  saying, 
'Ah,  cam  arnica?1  Her  voice  is  the  most  lovely,  and  her 
mouth  the  most  fascinating,  after  Titiens,  of  any  artist  I  ever 
saw." 

On  her  last  appearance  in  Boston  she  impersonated  Lady 
Macbeth,  supported  by  Mr.  D.  W.  Waller  as  Macbeth.  Of 
the  scene  at  the  conclusion  of  the  play  Mr.  Clapp  writes  :  — 

"When  the  curtain  was  raised  again,  the  stage  presented  the 
appearance  of  a  drawing-room,  and  in  its  centre  stood  a  gilt 
table  upon  which  rested  a  floral  crown  with  laurel  wreath. 
Upon  either  side  were  placed  bronze  statuettes  of  Mercury 
and  Fortune,  resting  upon  handsomely  carved  pedestals. 
Other  floral  decorations  were  about  the  stage.  After  a 
moment's  pause,  Mr.  Cheney  entered  from  the  left,  leading 
Miss  Cushman,  whom  he  briefly  presented." 

Mr.  Curtis  Guild  then  addressed  Miss  Cushman  in  a  grace- 

o 

ful  speech,  concluding  with  the  words  :  "And  now,  when  we 
depart,  and  when 

1  Fallen  is  the  curtain,  the  last  scene  is  o'er, 
The  fav'rite  actress  treads  the  stage  no  more,' 

we  shall  each  and  all  of  us  remember  that  though 

'  Many  the  parts  you  played,  yet  to  the  end 
Your  best  were  those  of  sister,  lady,  friend.' " 

Miss  Cushman  concluded  her  response  by  saying:  "Look- 
ing back  upon  my  career,  I  think  I  may, '  without  vain-glory,' 
say  that  I  have  not,  by  any  act  of  my  life,  done  discredit  to 


I 
CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN.  227 

the  city  of  my  birth.  Believe  me,  I  shall  carry  away  with 
me  in  my  retirement  no  memory  sweeter  than  my  associations 
with  Boston  and  my  Boston  public.  From  my  full  heart, 
God  bless  you,  and  Farewell !  " 

For  many  years  before  her  death  Miss  Cushman  had  been 
a  sufferer  from  a  malady  that  proved  fatal  at  last.  In 
October,  1875,  she  established  herself  in  rooms  at  the  Parker 
House  in  Boston.  The  suffering  was  great  and  almost  uninter- 
mitting  in  character,  yet  she  bore  it  all  bravely  and  never  made 
herself  the  topic  of  conversation.  Intimate  friends  came  to 
her  daily.  Until  within  two  days  before  her  death  she  wrote 
each  day  to  her  family  at  Newport,  in  that  loved  villa  by  the 
sea  where  she  had  passed  so  many  happy  hours. 

On  the  morning  of  February  12,  in  walking  through  the 
corridor,  she  took  a  sudden  cold  which  resulted  in  pneumonia, 
from  which  she  died  on  the  eighteenth  —  six  days  later. 
James  Russell  Lowell's  poem  of  "  Columbus"  had  always  been 
with  her  a  favorite,  and  a  few  hours  before  she  went  out  into 
the  Infinite  Unknown  she  asked  to  have  it  read  aloud.  Its 
words  had  been  a  part  of  her  evolved  experience  of  life  :  — 

"  Endurance  is  the  crowning  quality 
And  patience  all  the  passion  of  great  hearts. 

One  faith  against  a  whole  earth's  unbelief, 
One  soul  against  the  flesh  of  all  mankind." 

This  incident  suggested  some  exquisite  lines  that  appeared 
at  that  time  in  a  Boston  journal,  signed  "C.  T.  E.,"  of  which 
the  first  and  last  stanzas  were  :  — 

"  For  wast  not  thou,  too,  going  forth  alone 

To  seek  new  land  across  an  untried  sea  ? 
"New  land,  —  yet  to  thy  soul  not  all  unknown, 
Nor  yet  far  off,  was  that  blest  shore  to  thee. 

"  Thine  was  a  conflict  none  else  knew  but  God, 

Who  gave  thee,  to  endure  it,  strength  divine : 
Alone  with  Him  the  wine-press  thou  hast  trod, 
And  Death,  His  angel,  seals  the  victory  thine." 


228  CHAKLOTTE  CUSHMAN. 

The  funeral  services  were  held  in  King's  Chapel.  They 
were  simple  in  character,  as  befitted  the  sacred  majesty  of 
the  occasion.  For  an  hour  before  the  services  people  were 
permitted  to  pass  through  the  room  where  she  lay,  beautiful 
in  the  light  of  the  holy  peace  reflected  from  that  noble  coun- 
tenance. "God  giveth  quietness  at  last"  was  the  refrain  in 
every  heart. 

In  King's  Chapel  flowers  sent  by  loving  hands  lay  about 
her.  The  deep  organ  music  in  its  solemn  chant  blended  with 
the  prayers  that  were  said.  The  chancel  inscription  :  "This  is 
my  commandment  to  you,  that  you  love  one  another,"  seemed 
the  expression  of  her  entire  life.  Still  and  cold  lay  Charlotte 
Cushrnan  in  the  last  dreamless  sleep  under  the  shadow  of 
white  lilies  that  leaned  above  her,  fair  and  fragrant. 

Forty  years  had  passed  since  the  untried  girl  had  gone  out 
from  her  native  city  to  conquer  life.  In  those  years  she  had 
done  more.  She  had  conquered  herself.  She  had  learned  the 
lesson  of  renunciation.  She  had  won  the  reward  of  achieve- 
ment. 

To  Charlotte  Cushman  life  was  a  conflict.  Born  into 
simple,  primitive  conditions,  with  the  inherited  instincts  of  a 
long  line  of  Puritan  ancestry,  yet  with  the  tragic  intensity 
of  creative  genius  in  her  soul,  and  the  glow  of  its  sacred 
mystery  in  her  being,  what  wonder  that  those  two  warring 
forces  should  have  alternately  swayed  her  throughout  her 
plastic  youth,  and  stamped  their  traces  on  her  mature  woman- 
hood ?  It  was  this  meeting  of  two  forces  that  could  never, 
from  their  intrinsic  nature,  mingle,  that  gave  to  her  character 
an  aspect  of  superficial  inconsistency.  In  reality  she  was 
strictly  true,  but  now  one  nature  and  now  the  other  domi- 
nated her. 

Her  character  was  made  up  of  the  massive  forces,  and 
it  included  with  almost  startling  distinctness  two  entirely 
different  personalities. 

"  Oh,  sorrowful,  great  gift 
Conferred  on  poets  of  a  twofold  life 
When  one  life  has  been  found  enough  for  pain," 


CHARLOTTE  CUSHMAN.  229 

wrote  Elizabeth  Browning,  and  this  twofold  life  was  essen- 
tially that  of  Charlotte  Gush  man. 

To  some  degree  it  was  true  of  her,  as  Miss  Kate  Field  has 
said  of  Ristori,  that  in  her  presence  "  it  required  a  mental 
effort  to  recall  her  histrionic  greatness."  Conversely  this  was 
equally  true,  and  to  those  who  knew  in  her  the  grandeur,  the 
sublimity,  the  intensity  of  the  artist,  it  was  difficult  to  asso- 
ciate her  with  other  than  the  artistic  life,  or  to  see  in  her 
aught  but  the  grandest  tragic  actress  of  America. 

The  religious  earnestness  of  her  character  never  faltered. 
It  was  a  part  of  her  identity  ;  and,  disregarding  all  forms,  the 
heart  of  the  woman  spoke  when  she  said,  "  I  can  go  to  any 
church  and  find  God." 

She  is  dead.  "  The  curtain  drops  upon  a  vanished 
majesty."  A  plain  granite  shaft,  thirty -three  feet  in  height, 
stands  in  Mount  Auburn,  and  at  its  base  is  the  name, — 
Charlotte  Cushman.  Afar  to  the  east  lies  the  beautiful  city 
that  she  loved  —  her  native  Boston.  Beyond  rolls  the  blue 
sea.  The  wind  sighs  its  low  requiem  among  the  trees. 
It  is  hallowed  ground.  Here  stands  the  monument  to 
Margaret  Fuller.  The  beloved  poet  Longfellow  sleeps  not 
far  away.  Names  that  have  made  life  sacred  and  heaven 
more  dear  meet  the  eye.  Lingering  among  the  loveliness 
of  Mount  Auburn  one  feels  that,  indeed, 

"  Happy  places  have  grown  holy  :  if  we  go  where  once  we  went, 
Only  tears  will  fall  down  slowly  as  at  blessed  sacrament." 

Remembering  the  crystalline  purity  and  truth  of  this 
divinely-gifted  woman,  you  may  find  yourself  repeating,  as 
you  stay  and  stray  by  her  last  resting-place,  the  words 
of  Queen  Katherine,  whose  impersonation  was  the  most 
majestic  triumph  in  the  art  of  Charlotte  Cushman :  — 

"  After  my  death  I  wish  no  other  herald, 
No  other  speaker  of  my  living  actions 
To  keep  mine  honor  from  corruption 
Than  such  an  honest  chronicler  as  Griffith." 


CHAPTER  X. 
LYDIA  MAKIA  CHILD. 

BY  SUSAN  COOLIDGE. 

The  Little  Maid  of  Medf ord  —  Her  Early  Life  and  Happy  Marriage  —  Books 
She  has  Written  —  Surprise  and  Indignation  excited  by  Her  "  Appeal "  — 
The  Battle  of  Life  —  Rowing  against  the  Tide  —  Her  Patience,  Fortitude, 
and  Reliance  —  Stirring  Times —  Devotion  to  Her  Husband  —  Life  at 
Wayland  —  Her  Bright  Humor  —  Sympathy  for  Old  John  Brown  — 
Mrs.  Mason's  Violent  Letter  —  Mrs.  Child's  Famous  Reply  —  She  is  Prom- 
ised a  "Warm  Reception"  — Her  Loyalty,  Self-Denial,  and  Work  during 
the  Civil  War  — Princely  Generosity  — Serene  Old  Age  — Death  of  Her 
Husband  —  Mrs.  Child's  Touching  Tribute  to  His  Memory  —  Waiting 
and  Trusting  —  Her  Death  and  Funeral. 

N  the  year  1636  one  Richard  Francis  emigrated 
from  England  to  America  and  settled  in  Cam- 
bridge, Mass.,  where  his  tombstone  may  be  seen 
to  this  day.     A  hundred  and  thirty-nine  years 
later  we  find  one  of  his  descendants  taking  part 
in  the  skirmish  at  Concord,  where  he  is  said  to 
have  killed  five  of  the  enemy.     Half  a  century 
after  Concord,  another  descendant  of  the  same 
sturdy  stock  was  settled  as  a  baker  in  Medford, 
Mass.,   where   he  first   introduced   what   are    still 
known  as  "  Medford  crackers."     He  was  the  father 
of  Lydia  Maria  Francis,  the  subject  of  this  sketch ;  and  in 
Medford,  on  the  llth  of  February,  1802,  she  was  born. 

To  children  of  a  thoughtful  and  intelligent  cast,  the  very 
bareness  of  New  England  life  at  that  period  had  in  it  some- 
thing formative  and  stimulating.  The  keen,  youthful  obser- 
vation and  analysis,  undistracted  by  trifles,  expended  them- 
selves upon  facts  with  their  underlying  principles,  upon 
theories  and  the  convictions  to  be  deduced  from  them.  At 
nine  years  of  age,  the  little  maid  of  Medford  was  puzzling 
230 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  231 

her  brains  to  find  out  exactly  what  that  "  Kaven  down  of 
darkness"  could  be  which  smiles  when  stroked,  and  was 
sorely  perplexed  by  the  explanation  of  her  teasing  brother 
Convers,  that  it  must  mean  the  fur  of  a  black  cat,  which 
gnaps  and  crackles  with  electricity  when  caressed  in  cold 
weather  !  At  twelve  she  read  "  Waverley,"  and  exclaimed, 
''  Why  cannot  I  write  a  novel  ? "  In  her  seventeenth  year 
she  writes  to  her  brother:  "Do  not  forget  that  I  asked  you 
about  the '  flaming  cherubims,'  the  effects  of  distance,  horizon- 
tal and  perpendicular,  '  Orlando  Furioso,'  and  Lord  Byron  !  " 

Her  earliest  teacher  was  an  old  woman  known  as  "  Marm 
Betty,"  who  kept  her  school  in  an  untidy  bedroom,  and 
chewed  much  'obacco.  At  no  time  does  Lydia  Francis  seem 
to  have  had  better  opportunities  for  education  than  the  public 
academy  of  her  native  town  could  furnish,  with  the  exception 
of  one  year  at  private  seminary.  But  her  mind  had  that 
power  of  assimiu'ion  which  converts  spare  diet  into  generous 
growth.  And  tha  home  atmosphere  in  which  she  was  reared 
was  full  of  good,  practical  teaching. 

David  Francis,  her  father,  though  not  a  highly-educated 
man,  was  remarkably  fond  of  books,  and  possessed  of  a  wide 
and  zealous  benevolence.  His  anti-slavery  principles  were  in 
advance  of  his  time,  and  his  children  were  taught  from  their 
infancy  to  exercise  a  frugal  self-denial  with  regard  to  their 
own  wants,  and  a  hospitable  generosity  towards  those  of 
others.  A  Sunday  dinner  was  always  carried  to  "  Marm 
Betty,"  and  at  Thanksgiving  she  and  all  the  other  humble 
friends  of  the  family,  to  the  number  of  twenty  or  thirty, 
were  assembled  and  feasted.  This  mingling  of  frugality  on 
the  one  hand,  and  liberality  on  the  other,  characterized  Mrs. 
Child  during  her  whole  life. 

In  the  year  1819  Convers  Francis  was  ordained  pastor  over 
the  first  Unitarian  church  at  Watertown,  Mass.,  and  his  sister 
went  to  live  with  him.  Two  years  later  her  first  book  ap- 
peared, a  novel  called  "  Hobomok,"  after  its  Indian  hero.  It 
is  a  tale  somewhat  resembling  "  Enoch  Arden,"  with  the 
important  variation  that  the  noble  red-man  who  has  married 


232  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

the  heroine  promptly  gives  up  his  wife  and  child  on  the  reap- 
pearance of  her  early  lover.  But  this  was  in  the  dawn  of 
American  letters ;  and  with  all  its  crude  improbability, 
"Hobomok"  enjoyed  such  a  measure  of  popularity  as  to 
warrant  the  publication  during  the  following  year  of  a  second 
novel,  "The  Kebels ;  or,  Boston  before  the  Revolution," 
bearing  a  motto  from  Bryant,  and  "  respectfully  inscribed  " 
to  George  Ticknor.  The  immediate  effect  of  its  appearance 
was  to  make  its  author  a  celebrity  in  her  own  circle. 

In  1825  Miss  Francis  opened  a  private  school  in  Water- 
town,  and  in  1827  she  established  "  The  Juvenile  Miscellany/' 
pioneer  to  the  long  line  of  American  children's  magazines. 
In  1828  she  married  David  Lee  Child,  a  lawyer  in  Boston, 
and  took  up  her  residence  in  that  city.  The  following  year 
appeared  "The  Frugal  Housewife,"  a  manual  of  domestic 
management,  which  proved  so  suited  to  the  wants  of  the 
public  that  it  has  since  attained  its  fortieth  edition.  Later 
came,  in  a  natural  sequence,  "  The  Mother's  Book,"  tf  The 
Girl's  Own  Book,"  "  The  History  of  Women,"  and  "  The 
Biographies  of  Good  Wives."  It  was  about  this  time  that 
"  The  North  American  Review,"  then  the  highest  literary 
authority  in  the  country,  said  of  her :  ?f  We  are  not  sure  that 
any  woman  of  our  country  could  outrank  Mrs.  Child.  Few 
female  writers,  if  any,  have  done  more  or  better  things  for 
our  literature  in  the  lighter  or  graver  departments." 

This  was  probably  the  time  of  Mrs.  Child's  life  in  which 
she  tasted  most  of  what  the  world  calls  ease  and  good. 
Happily  and  congenially  married  to  the  man  she  loved, 
courted  and  invited,  revelling  in  the  work  which  she  most 
enjoyed  doing,  feeling  an  increasing  influence  resulting  from 
it,  the  sweetness  of  a  new  home-life  encompassing  her  day 
by  day  ;  surely  this  was  much  for  any  woman  to  possess,  and 
very  much  for  any  woman  to  endanger.  Many  young  wives 
in  her  situation  would  have  found  abundant  occupation  for 
mind  and  heart  in  self-cultivation,  the  enjoyment  of  society, 
or  the  details  of  housekeeping.  Decorative  art,  or  whatever 
did  duty  for  it  in  those  early  days,  would  have  claimed  atten- 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  233 

tion,  and  the  scant  facilities  for  household  convenience  fur- 
nished a  real  excuse  for  much  personal  labor  and  supervision. 

But  neither  house  nor  social  ambitions,  nor  the  absorbing 
interests  of  her  literary  life,  stood  in  Mrs.  Child's  way  for 
one  moment  when  her  conscience  recognized  an  obligation. 
In  1833  the  American  Anti-Slavery  Society  was  started  at  a 
convention  held  in  Philadelphia.  It  attained  an  instant  un- 
popularity. Immediately  afterward  Mrs.  Child  wrote  and 
published  her  "Appeal  in  Behalf  of  that  Class  of  Americans 
called  Africans,"  and  by  doing  so  cut  herself  off  from  much 
of  what  must  have  been  to  her  the  pleasantness  of  life. 

It  is  difficult  at  the  present  day  to  realize  the  surprise  and 
indignation  excited  by  this  "  appeal,"  so  justly  called  forth 
and  so  temperately  made.  The  sale  of  Mrs.  Child's  books 
fell  off — the  subscriptions  to  her  magazine  were  withdrawn. 
Many  acquaintances  closed  their  doors  against  her.  That  she 
knew  what  she  hazarded  and  was  prepared  for  the  result  is 
proved  by  the  preface  to  her  book :  "  I  am  fully  aware  of 
the  unpopularity  of  the  task  I  have  undertaken ;  but  though 
I  expect  ridicule  and  censure  I  do  not  fear  them.  A  few 
years  hence  the  opinion  of  the  world  wrill  be  a  matter  in 
which  I  have  not  the  most  transient  interest ;  but  this  book 
will  be  abroad  on  its  mission  of  humanity  long  after  the  hand 
that  wrote  it  is  mingling  with  the  dust." 

"Thenceforth  her  life  was  a  battle,"  says  Mr.  Whittier,  "a 
constant  rowing  hard  against  the  stream  of  popular  prejudice 
and  hatred.  And  through  it  all  —  pecuniary  privation,  loss 
of  friends  and  position,  the  painfulness  of  being  suddenly 
thrust  from  '  the  still  air  of  delightful  studies '  into  the  bit- 
terest and  sternest  controversy  of  the  age,  she  bore  herself 
with  patience,  fortitude,  and  unshaken  reliance  upon  the 
justice  and  ultimate  triumph  of  the  cause  she  had  espoused. 
Whenever  there  was  a  brave  word  to  be  spoken  her  voice 
was  heard,  and  never  without  effect.  It  is  not  exaggeration 
to  say  that  no  man  or  woman  of  that  period  rendered  more 
substantial  service  to  the  cause  of  freedom,  or  made  such  a 
great  renunciation  to  do  it." 
15 


234  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

Of  the  intensity  of  public  feeling  against  the  anti-slavery 
reformers  her  letters  of  this  date  bear  evidence.  In  August, 
1835,  she  writes  to  a  friend  :  — 

"I  am  at  Brooklyn,  at  the  house  of  a  very  hospitable 
Englishman,  a  friend  of  Mr.  Thompson's.  I  have  not 
ventured  into  the  city,  nor  does  one  of  us  dare  to  go  to 
church  to-day,  so  great  is  the  excitement  here.  You  can 
form  no  conception  of  it.  'Tis  like  the  times  of  the  French 
Revolution,  when  no  man  dared  trust  his  neighbor.  Private 
assassins  from  New  Orleans  are  lurking  at  the  corners  of  the 
street  to  stab  Arthur  Tappan ;  and  very  large  sums  are 
offered  for  any  one  who  will  convey  Mr.  Thompson  into  the 
slave  States.  He  is  almost  a  close  prisoner  to  his  chamber, 
his  friends  deeming  him  in  imminent  peril  the  moment  it  is 
known  where  he  is.  Your  husband  could  hardly  be  made  to 
realize  the  terrible  state  of  fermentation  now  existing  here. 
Mr.  Wright  was  yesterday  barricading  his  doors  and  win- 
dows with  strong  bars  and  planks  an  inch  thick.  Violence  in 
some  form  seems  to  be  generally  expected." 

Fearless  of  consequences,  however,  Mrs.  Child  persevered 
in  her  self-appointed  task.  Between  the  years  1833  and  1838 
she  published  four  additional  works  treating  on  the  evils  of 
slavery.  In  1836  appeared  her  romance  of  "Philothea,"  the 
scene  of  which  is  laid  in  ancient  Greece.  This  book  would 
seem  to  embody  a  reaction  of  the  dreamy  and  imaginative 
side  of  her  nature  against  its  practical  counterpart.  Intensely 
practical  she  was,  with  a  capacity  for  detail  which  extended 
to  the  humblest  domestic  economies  ;  yet,  singularly  enough, 
this  clear  common-sense  and  talent  for  administration  was 
balanced  by  a  passionate  craving  for  art,  and  by  a  love  of 
beauty  which  made  the  *e  very  day  sights  of  nature  a  continual 
feast.  One  of  her  letters,  written  in  1840,  exhibits  this  :  "I 
am  ashamed  to  say  how  deeply  I  am  charmed  with  sculpture, 
—  ashamed  because  it  seems  like  affectation  in  one  who  has  had 
such  very  limited  opportunity  to  become  acquainted  with  the 
arts.  I  have  a  little  plaster  figure  of  a  caryatid  which  acts 
upon  my  spirits  like  a  magician's  spell.  Many  a  time  this 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  235 

hard  summer  I  have  laid  down  the  dishcloth  or  broom  and 
gone  to  refresh  my  spirit  by  gazing  at  it  for  a  few  minutes. 
It  speaks  to  me.  It  says  glorious  things.  In  summer  I 
place  flowers  before  it ;  and  now  I  have  laid  a  garland  of 
acorns  and  amaranths  at  its  feet.  I  do  dearly  love  every 
little  bit  of  real  sculpture."  And  later,  "  It  is  not  I  who 
drudge,  it  is  merely  the  case  containing  me.  I  defy  all  the 
powers  of  earth  and  hell  to  make  me  scrub  floors  or  feed 
pigs,  if  I  choose  meanwhile  to  be  off  conversing  with  the 
angels."  Again,  in  1841,  "  A  Southern  gentleman  some  time 
since  wrote  to  me  from  New  Orleans,  postage  double  and 
unpaid,  inviting  me  to  that  city,  and  promising  me  a  c  warm 
reception '  and  r  lodgings  in  the  calaboose  with  as  much  nigger 
company  as  you  desire.'  He  wrote  according  to  the  light 
that  was  in  him.  He  did  not  know  that  the  combined  police  of 
the  world  could  not  imprison  me.  In  spite  of  bolts  and  bars 
I  should  have  been  off  like  a  witch  at  midnight,  holding  fair 
discourse  with  Orion,  and  listening  to  the  plaintive  song  of 
Pleiades  mourning  for  the  earth-dimmed  glory  of  their 
fallen  sister.  How  did  he  know  in  his  moral  midnight 
that  choosing  to  cast  our  lot  with  the  lowliest  of  earth  was 
the  very  way  to  enter  into  companionship  with  the  highest 
in  heaven  ?  " 

A  curious  sympathy  with  the  mystical  and  speculative  was 
another  of  Mrs.  Child's  characteristics.  She  had  also  a  fond- 
ness for  ghost  stories  and  supernatural  signs  and  imitations. 
But  these  strangely-balanced  traits  worked  in  perfect  adjust- 
ment and  without  friction.  "Her  mysticism  and  realism  ran 
in  close  parallel  lines  without  interfering  with  each  other," 
said  Mr.  Whittier,  and  he  adds,  "  she  was  wise  in  counsel ; 
and  men  like  Charles  Sumner,  Henry  Wilson,  Salmon  P. 
Chase,  and  Governor  Andrew  availed  themselves  of  her  fore- 
sight and  sound  judgment  of  men  and  things." 

In  1844  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Child  were  engaged  by  the  Anti- 

«/ 

Slavery  Society  as  joint  editors  of  their  weekly  newspaper, 
"  The  Anti-Slavery  Standard,"  just  started  in  New  York.  The 
state  of  Mr.  Child's  health  did  not  at  first  permit  him  to  share 


236  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

in  the  labor,  and  for  a  considerable  time  his  wife  carried  it  on 
without  him.  The  separation  which  this  involved  was  painful 
to  them  both.  In  the  early  days  of  their  married  life  Mrs, 
Child  had  written  to  her  husband,  "  It  is  nonsense  for  me  to 
go  a-pleasuring  without  you.  It  does  me  no  good  ;  I  am  only 
homesick  for  you,  and  my  private  opinion  is  that  I  shall  not 
be  able  to  stand  it  a  whole  week."  Now  circumstances  forced 
her  to  "  stand  it "  for  two  years  ! 

"My  domestic  attachments  are  so  strong,  and  David  is 
always  so  full  of  cheerful  tenderness,  that  this  separation  is 
dreary,  indeed,"  she  writes  to  her  brother ;  and  to  another 
friend,  "  My  task  here  is  irksome  to  me.  Your  father 
will  tell  you  that  it  was  not  zeal  for  the  cause  but  love 
for  my  husband  which  brought  me  hither.  But  since  it 
wks  necessary  for  me  to  leave  home  to  be  earning  some- 
what, I  am  thankful  that  my  work  is  for  the  anti-slavery 
cause." 

Eight  years  did  the  husband  and  wife  continue  their  joint 
editorship,  During  that  time  Mrs.  Child,  whenever  in  New 
York,  occupied  a  room  in  the  house  of  "Friend  Hopper," 
whose  biography  she  afterward  edited  so  charmingly.  Under 
his  roof  her  ardent  and  wide  philanthropy  found  stimulus 
as  well  as  sympathy.  "Dwelling  in  a  home  where  disin- 
terested and  noble  labor  were  as  daily  breath,  she  had  great 
opportunities,"  wrote  one  of  her  friends.  "  Since  the  keen 
tragedy  of  city  life  began  it  has  seen  no  more  efficient  organi- 
zation for  relief  than  when  dear  old  Isaac  Hopper  and  Mrs. 
Child  took  up  their  abode  under  one  roof  in  New  York." 

It  was  about  this  time  that  Lowell,  in  his  "  Fable  for 
Critics,"  gave  what  is  perhaps  the  most  charming  of  the 
many  attempted  sketches  of  Mrs.  Child,  in  the  person  of 
"Philothea":  — 

"  The  pole,  science  tells  us,  the  magnet  controls, 
But  she  is  a  magnet  to  emigrant  Poles ; 
And  folks  with  a  mission  that  nobody  knows, 
Throng  thickly  about  her  as  bees  on  a  rose. 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  237 

Yes,  a  great  soul  is  hers,  one  that  dares  to  go  in 

To  the  prison,  the  slave-hut,  the  alleys  of  sin, 

And  to  bring  into  each,  or  to  find  there  some  line, 

Of  the  never  completely  out-trampled  divine ; 

If  her  heart  at  high  floods  swamp  her  brain  now  and  then, 

4  Tis  but  richer  for  that  when  the  flood  ebbs  again, 

As  after  old  Nile  has  subsided,  his  plain 

Overflows  with  a  second  broad  deluge  of  grain  ; 

What  a  wealth  it  would  bring  to  the  narrow  and  sour 

Could  they  be  as  a  Child  but  for  one  little  hour." 

During  her  eight  years  of  editorship  Mrs.  Child  wrote  for 
the  "  Boston  Courier "  that  series  of  "  Letters  from  New 
York,"  which,  appearing  afterwards  in  book  form,  proved 
their  popularity  by  going  into  seven  or  eight  editions.  In 
1852  the  husband  and  wife  gave  up  the  conduct  of  the  "Anti- 
Slavery  Standard,"  and  retired  to  the  small  rural  town  of 
Way  land,  in  Massachusetts,  where,  with  brief  exceptions,  the 
remainder  of  their  lives  was  spent.  Of  this  new  abode  Mrs. 
Child,  in  some  "Reminiscences"  found  among  her  papers, 
says  :  — 

"In  1852  we  made  a  humble  home  in  Wayland,  Mass., 
where  we  spent  twenty-two  pleasant  years  entirely  alone, 
without  any  domestic,  mutually  serving  each  other,  and 
dependent  on  each  other  for  intellectual  companionship.  I 
always  depended  upon  his  richly  stored  mind,  which  was  able 
and  ready  to  furnish  needful  information  on  any  subject.  He 
was  my  walking  dictionary  of  many  languages,  my  universal 
encyclopedia." 

Nothing  could  seem  lonelier  than  the  life  led  by  Mrs.  Child 
in  Wayland  during  the  greater  part  of  the  year.  With  few 
neighbors,  and  fewer  visitors,  off  the  lines  of  travel,  shut  in 
by  winter  snow,  immersed  in  needful  household  work,  prac- 
tising a  rigid  economy,  yet  the  spirit  that  was  in  her  turned  all 
these  hard  things  into  beauty.  "  Her  life  in  the  place  made, 
indeed,  an  atmosphere  of  its  own,  a  benison  of  peace  and 
good- will  "  ;  and  here,  as  elsewhere,  she  found  people  to  help 
and  loving  work  to  do.  The  inward  cheer  of  her  undaunted 


238  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

nature  acknowledged  no  hinderance  and  left  no  chill ; 
loneliness  was  a  thing  unknown  or  undreaded,  so  long  as  she 
had  the  company  of  her  husband,  who  was  so  deservedly  dear 
to  her.  Of  him  she  writes  in  the  "  Reminiscences  "  already 
quoted :  "  In  his  old  age  he  was  as  affectionate  and  devoted 
as  when  the  lover  of  my  youth ;  nay,  he  manifested  even 
more  tenderness.  He  was  often  singing  — 

'  There's  nothing  half  so  sweet  in  life 
As  love's  old  dream.' 

"  Very  often,  when  he  passed  by  me,  he  would  lay  his  hand 
softly  on  my  head  and  murmur,  '  Carum  caput.'  But  what 
I  remember  with  the  most  tender  gratitude  is  his  uniform 
patience  and  forbearance  with  my  faults.  He  never  would 
see  anything  but  the  bright  side  of  my  character.  He  always 
insisted  upon  thinking  that  whatever  I  said  was  the  wisest  and 
wittiest,  and  whatever  I  did  was  the  best.  The  simplest  little 
jeu  d'esprit  of  mine  seemed  to  him  wonderfully  witty.  Once 
when  he  said,  '  I  wish  for  your  sake  that  I  was  as  rich  as 
Crcesus,'  I  answered,  '  You  are  Croesus,  for  you  are  king  of 
Lydia.'  How  often  he  used  to  quote  that." 

Sweet  words  to  be  recorded  by  a  wife  of  seventy-two,  of  a 
husband  who  had  gone  to  his  rest  at  the  age  of  eighty  ! 
What  more  could  she  say  or  he  desire  ? 

It  was  during  the  third  year  of  this  secluded  life  in  Way- 
land  that  Mrs.  Child  published  her  most  important  work, 
"The  Progress  of  Religious  Ideas  in  Successive  Ages."  It 
appeared  in  1855  in  three  large  volumes.  "More  than  eight 
years  elapsed  between  the  planning  and  the  printing,  and  for 
six  years  it  was  her  main  pursuit."  During  its  progress  she 
writes  to  her  brother  with  regard  to  it :  — 

"My  book  gets  slowly  on.  I  am  not  sustained  by  the  least 
hope  that  my  mode  of  treating  the  subject  will  prove  acceptable 
to  any  class  of  persons.  No  matter.  I  am  going  to  tell  the 
plain  unvarnished  truth,  as  clearly  as  I  can  understand  it,  and  let 
Christians  and  Infidels,  Orthodox  and  Unitarians,  Catholics 
and  Protestants,  and  Swedenborgians,  growl  as  they  will." 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  239 

This  laborious  work  brought  Mrs.  Child  no  pecuniary 
reward ;  it  barely  paid  expenses.  This  was,  no  doubt,  due 
to  the  fact  that,  gentle  and  candid  as  was  the  tone  of  the  book, 
it  was  in  opposition  to  the  pervading  religious  tendencies  of 
the  community  in  which  she  lived.  Her  treatment  of  the 
questions  involved  was  too  dispassionate.  Each  sect  in  turn 
felt  its  claims  understated.  As  we  have  seen,  she  was  not 
unprepared  for  this  result,  nor  was  she  disheartened  by  it. 
"  This  is  the  second  time  I  have  walked  out  in  stormy 
weather  without  a  cloak,"  she  said  to  a  friend.  "  I  trust  I 
have  never  impelled  any  one  in  the  wrong  direction.  Most 
devoutly  do  I  believe  in  the  pervasive  and  ever-guiding  spirit 
of  God ;  but  I  do  not  believe  it  was  ever  shut  up  within  the 
covers  of  any  book,  or  that  it  ever  can  be.  Portions  of  it, 
or  rather  breathings  of  it,  are  in  many  books.  The  words  of 
Christ  seem  to  me  full  of  it  as  no  other  words  are.  But  if 
we  want  truth  we  must  listen  to  the  voice  of  God  in  the 
silence  of  our  soul,  as  he  did." 

In  the  year  following  the  publication  of  "The  Progress  of 
Religious  Ideas,"  we  have  the  following  picture  of  her  life  :  — 

"This  winter  has  been  the  loneliest  of  my  life.  If  you 
could  know  my  situation  you  would  pronounce  it  unendur- 
able. I  should  have  thought  so  myself  if  «I  had  had  a  fore- 
shadowing of  it  a  few  years  ago.  But  the  human  mind  can 
get  acclimated  to  anything.  What  with  constant  occupation 
and  the  happy  consciousness  of  sustaining  and  cheering  my 
poor  old  father  in  his  descent  into  the  grave,  I  am  almost 
always  in  a  state  of  serene  contentment.  In  summer  my 
once  extravagant  love  of  beauty  satisfies  itself  with  watching 
the  birds,  the  insects,  and  the  flowers  in  my  little  patch  of 
a  garden.  I  have  no  room  in  which  to  put  the  vases  and 
engravings  and  transparencies  that  friends  have  given  me  from 
time  to  time.  But  I  keep  them  safely  in  a  large  chest,  and 
when  birds  and  flowers  are  gone  I  sometimes  take  them  out, 
as  a  child  does  his  playthings,  and  sit  down  in  the  sunshine 
with  them,  dreaming  how  life  would  seem  in  such  places,  and 
how  poets  and  artists  come  to  imagine  such  things.  This 


240  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

process  sometimes  gives  rise  to  thoughts  which  float  through 
the  universe,  though  they  began  in  a  simple  craving  to  look 
at  something  that  is  beautiful." 

The  words  that  we  have  underlined  in  this  letter  seem  to 
us  to  express  the  serene  philosophy  which  was  one  of  Mrs. 
Child's  prominent  characteristics.  Her  large-mindedness 
with  regard  to  others  was  no  less  remarkable.  Of  Dr. 
Channing  she  writes :  "  At  first  I  thought  him  timid  and 
even  time-serving,  but  soon  discovered  that  I  formed  this 
estimate  merely  from  ignorance  of  his  character.  I  learned 
that  it  was  justice  to  all,  not  popularity  to  himself,  which 
rendered  him  so  cautious.  He  constantly  grew  upon  my 
respect  until  I  came  to  regard  him  as  the  wisest  as  well  as 
the  gentlest  apostle  of  humanity.  /  owe  him  thanks  for 
helping  to  preserve  me  from  the  one-sidedness  with  ivhich 
zealous  reformers  are  apt  to  run.  He  never  sought  to  under- 
value the  importance  of  anti-slavery,  but  he  said  many 
things  to  prevent  my  looking  upon  it  as  the  only  question 
interesting  to  humanity.  My  mind  needed  this  check,  and  I 
never  think  of  his  many-sided  conversations  without  deep 
gratitude." 

Another  extract,  equally  striking  to  those  who  recognize 
the  narrowing  influences  of  literary  ambition  in  the  majority 
of  minds,  is  this  :  — 

"I  am  not  what  I  aspired  to  be  in  my  days  of  young 
ambition ;  but  I  have  become  humble  enough  to  be  satisfied 
with  the  conviction  that  what  I  have  written  has  always 
been  written  conscientiously,  that  I  have  always  spoken 
with  sincerity  if  not  with  power.  In  every  direction  I  see 
young  giants  rushing  past  me,  at  times  pushing  me  some- 
what rudely  in  their  speed,  but  I  am  glad  to  see  such  strong 
laborers  to  plough  the  land  and  sow  the  seed  for  coming 
years." 

Of  the  warmth  of  her  affections  and  friendship  sufficient 
proof  has  already  been  given.  She  was  as  just  to  others  as 
to  herself,  and  more  generous.  Nothing  jarred  upon  her 
more  than  to  detect  a  small  motive  in  her  own  action. 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  241 

"  I  have  a  confession  to  make  to  you,"  she  says  to  a  friend, 
whose  birthday  canie  in  the  same  month  with  her  own.  "  I 
intended  to  send  you  some  little  '  rattle-trap '  on  your  birthday, 
but  I  said  to  myself,  '  That  will  seem  like  reminding  her  of 
my  birthday.  She  is  rich  and  I  am  poor.  If  I  send  her 
plaster  she  will  perhaps  send  me  marble ;  it  will  be  more 
delicate  not  to  do  it.'  I  am  ashamed,  thoroughly  ashamed,  of 
these  mean  ideas,  for  the  thought  'I  am  poor  and  thou 
art  rich'  ought  never  to  interrupt  the  free  flowing  of 
human  souls  toward  each  other.  Nevertheless  I  did  it,  as 
I  have  done  many  other  things  that  I  regret  and  am 
ashamed  of." 

Absolute  integrity  was  a  part  of  Mrs.  Child's  nature.  She 
was  thoroughly  in  earnest.  To  know  the  truth  and  obey  it 
was  her  chief  desire.  "It  is  the  likeness  of  my  soul  in  some 
of  its  moods,"  she  says,  referring  to  Domenichino's  Cumaean 
Sybil,  "  Oh,  how  I  have  listened!" 

Her  benevolence  was  wide  as  the  sea.  Down  to  the  last 
years  of  her  life  it  knew  no  slackening.  "I  have  never 
experienced  any  happiness  to  be  compared  to  the  conscious- 
ness of  lifting  a  human  soul  out  of  the  mire,"  she  writes, 
with  regard  to  a  drunkard,  reformed  by  months  of  intelligent, 
painstaking,  daily  effort  on  her  part.  In  her  will  an  annuity 
of  fifty  dollars  a  year  was  left  to  this  man,  to  be  paid  in 
monthly  instalments  so  long  as  he  should  refrain  from  drink. 
His  was  but  an  example  of  the  many  lives  which  she  touched 
and  helped,  and  furthered  toward  higher  standards. 

A  constant  bright  humor  plays  about  her  earnestness,  like 
harmless  summer  lightning  against  a  clear  sky.  "  The  '  Bos- 
ton Post '  was  down  upon  me  for  the  verse  about  President 
Pierce,"  she  writes  in  1856.  "I  could  not  help  it.  His  name 
would  not  rhyme  to  anything  but  curse." 

At  another  time  she  wrote,  "Miss  R.  complains  of  the  ex- 
ceeding slowness  with  which  things  tended  to  that  result 
(emancipation).  I  told  her  of  the  consolation  an  old  nurse 
gave  to  a  mother  whose  child  was  very  sick.  The  mother 
said,  "  The  medicine  doesn't  seem  to  work  as  you  thought  it 


242  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

would."  The  nurse  replied,  "  It  will  work.  Trust  in  God, 
madam  :  he's  tedious,  but  he's  sure." 

And  once  more  :  "  It  is  natural  enough  that  Gerrit  Smith 
should  deem  me  '  wise.'  When  I  approach  him  I  don't  go 
dancing  on  a  slack-rope,  decorated  with  spangles  and  Psyche 
wings ;  I  walk  on  solid  ground  as  demurely  as  if  I  were 
going  to  meeting  with  psalm-book  in  hand.  If  I  happen  to 
catch  a  glimpse  of  a  fairy  by  the  way,  she  and  I  wink  at 
each  other,  but  I  never  'let  on.'  He  supposes  the  chosen 
teachers  of  my  mind  to  be  profound  statesmen  and  pious 
Christian  fathers.  I  never  introduced  him  to  any  of  my 
acquaintances  of  light  character." 

Still  again  :  "  You  were  right  in  your  prediction  about  your 
poems.  Many  of  them  are  too  metaphysical  for  my  simple, 
practical  mind.  I  cannot  soar  so  high,  or  dive  so  deep  ;  so  I 
stand  looking  and  wondering  where  you  have  gone,  like  a 
cow  watching  a  bird  or  a  dolphin.  A  wag  says  that  when 
Emerson  was  in  Egypt  the  Sphinx  said  to  him,  '  You're 
another.'  I  imagine  the  Sphinx  would  address  you  in  the 
same  way." 

Some  who  read  this  will  recall  the  neat  drollery  of  her 
return  strokes  to  the  violent  letter  addressed  her  by  Mrs. 
Mason  of  Virginia,  after  Mrs.  Child's  application  to  the 
authorities  of  that  State  for  permission  to  minister  to  old 
John  Brown,  then  a  wounded  prisoner.  Mrs.  Mason  had 
asked,  with  what  was  intended  to  be  scathing  sarcasm, — 

"  Now  compare  yourself  with  those  your  sympathy  would 
devote  to  such  ruthless  ruin,  and  say  on  that  '  word  of  honor 
which  has  never  been  broken,'  would  you  stand  by  the  bedside 
of  an  old  negro  dying  of  a  hopeless  disease  to  alleviate  his 
sufferings  as  far  as  human  aid  could?  Do  you  soften  the 
pangs  of  maternity  in  those  around  you  by  all  the  care  and 
comfort  you  can  give  ?  Did  you  ever  sit  up  till  the  '  wee ' 
hours  to  complete  a  dress  for  a  motherless  child  that  she 
might  appear  on  Christmas  day  in  a  new  one,  along  with  her 
more  fortunate  companions?  We  do  these  and  more  for 
our  servants." 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  243 

To  this  Mrs.  Child  retorted  :  — 

"  To  the  personal  questions  you  ask  me  I  will  reply  in  the 
name  of  all  the  women  of  New  England.  It  would  be  ex- 
tremely difficult  to  find  any  woman  in  our  villages  who  does 
not  sew  for  the  poor  and  watch  with  the  sick  whenever  occa- 
sion requires.  We  pay  our  domestics  generous  wages,  with 
which  they  can  purchase  as  many  Christmas  gowns  as  they 
please,  a  process  far  better  for  their  characters,  as  well 
as  our  own,  than  to  receive  their  clothing  as  a  charity 
after  being  deprived  of  just  payment  for  their  labor.  I 
have  never  known  an  instance  where  the  f  pangs  of  mater- 
nity '  did  not  meet  with  requisite  assistance ;  and  here  at 
the  North,  after  we  have  helped  the  mothers,  we  do  not  sell 
the  babies." 

The  outbreak  of  the  civil  war  two  years  later  aroused  her 
to  the  most  active  interest.  Her  strong  anti-slavery  feeling 
was  in  the  outset  at  variance  with  her  patriotism.  "  I  wait  to 
see  how  the  United  States  will  deport  itself,"  she  writes. 
"  When  it  treats  the  colored  people  with  justice  and  humanity 
I  will  mount  its  flag  on  my  great  elm-tree.  Until  then  I 
would  as  soon  wear  the  rattlesnake  on  my  bosom  as  the  eagle. 
It  seems  as  if  the  eyes  of  the  government  were  holdeu,  that 
they  cannot  see." 

Her  helpfulness,  however,  could  not  remain  inactive  when 
there  was  such  pressing  work  to  do.  Very  soon  she  was 
deep  in  every  sort  of  undertaking  —  collecting  funds,  collect- 
ing supplies,  urging  Whittier  to  the  writing  of  patriotic 
songs,  sewing,  knitting,  quilting.  At  first  this  work  was 
done  only  for  special  regiments,  of  whose  conduct  she  felt  sure. 

"  This  winter  I  have  for  the  first  time  been  knitting  for  the 
army  ;  but  I  do  it  only  for  Kansas  troops.  I  can  trust  them, 
for  they  have  vowed  a  vow  unto  the  Lord  that  no  fugitive 
shall  ever  be  surrendered  in  their  camps.  A  soldier  needs  a 
great  idea  to  fight  for ;  and  how  can  the  idea  of  freedom  be 
otherwise  than  obscured  by  witnessing  the  wicked,  mean,  un- 
manly surrendering  of  poor  trembling  fugitives?  The  absurd 
policy  of  the  thing  is  also  provoking,  —  to  send  back  those 


s/ 

244  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

who  want  to  help  us  to  be  employed  by  rebels  to  help  them 
to  shoot  us." 

Later  she  writes  to  a  friend,  half-comically,  half-sorrow- 
fully,  "  Our  cause  is  going  to  mount  the  throne  of  popular 
favor.  Then  I  shall  bid  good-by  to  it,  and  take  hold  of 
something  else  that  is  unpopular.  I  never  work  on  the  win- 
ning side,  because  I  know  there  will  always  be  a  plenty  ready 
to  do  such  work." 

But  while  clinging  firmly  to  her  anti-slavery  principles,  no 
one  was  readier  than  she  to  spend  and  be  spent  for  the  service 
of  our  country  in  its  hour  of  need.  Her  economy,  always 
careful,  grew  carefuller  still.  Self-indulgence  in  the  smallest 
particular  was  rigidly  lopped  off.  In  1862  she  writes  to 
thank  a  friend  for  the  gift  of  a  book  which  she  had  wished 
to  see.  '  When  I  was  in  Boston  last  week  I  stopped  and 
looked  at  the  advertisement  of  '  John  Brent,'  in  the  windows 
of  Ticknor  &  Fields.  I  wanted  it  very  much,  and  was  on 
the  point  of  stepping  in  and  buying  it,  but  I  thought  of  the 
'contrabands' and  of  other  claims  upon  me  still  nearer,  as 
natural  relationship  goes,  and  I  said  to  myself,  '  No  unneces- 
sary expense  till  the  war  is  over.'  I  walked  away  well  satis- 
fied with  my  decision ;  but  I  am  amazing  glad  to  have  the 
book." 

Immediately  after  comes  another  letter  to  the  husband  of 
the  same  friend ;  "  I  enclose  twenty  dollars  which  I  wish  you 
would  use  for  the  '  contrabands '  in  any  way  you  think  best. 
I  did  think  of  purchasing  shoes,  of  which  I  understand  they 
are  much  in  need,  but  I  concluded  it  was  best  to  send  to  you 
to  appropriate  it  as  you  choose.  In  November  I  expended 
eighteen  dollars  for  clothing,  mostly  for  women  and  children, 
and  picked  up  all  the  garments,  blankets,  etc.,  that  I  could 
spare.  I  sent  them  to  Fortress  Monroe.  Last  week  I  gave 
A.  L.  twenty  dollars  towards  a  great  box  she  is  filling  for 
Port  Eoyal.  I  still  have  forty  dollars  left  of  a  fund  I  have 
set  apart.  I  keep  it  for  future  contingencies ;  but  if  you 
think  it  is  more  needed  now,  say  the  word  and  you  shall 
have  it." 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  245 

"And  yet,"  says  Mr.  Phillips,  "this  princely  giver  kept 
till  death  the  cheap,  plain  fashion  of  dress  which  early  narrow 
means  had  enforced,  used  an  envelope  twice,  and  never  wrote 
on  a  whole  sheet  when  a  half  one  would  suffice.  'I  do  not 
think,  Mrs.  Child,  you  can  afford  to  give  so  much  now,'  I 
said  to  her  once,  when  in  some  exigency  of  the  freedman's 
cause  she  told  me  to  send  them  from  her  a  hundred  dollars. 
'Well,'  she  answered,  'I  will  think  it  over  and  send  you 
word  to-morrow.'  To-morrow  word  came,  ' Please  send 
them  two  hundred.' 

w  Her  means  were  never  large,  never  so  large  that  a  woman 
of  her  class  would  think  she  had  anything  to  give  away.  But 
her  spirit  was  Spartan.  When  she  had  nothing  for  others 
she  worked  to  get  it.  She  wrote  to  me  once,  '  I  have  four 
hundred  dollars  to  my  credit  at  my  publisher's  for  my  book 
on  "  Looking  Toward  Sunset."  Please  get  it  and  send  it  to 
the  freedmen.'  And  she  had  nothing  of  the  scholar's  disease 
—  timidity  and  selfishness ;  her  hand  was  always  ready  for 
any  drudgery  of  service.  The  fallen  woman,  the  over- 
tempted  inebriate,  she  could  take  to  her  home  and  watch 
over  month  by  month.  And  prison  bars  were  no  bar  to  her 
when  a  friendless  woman  needed  help  or  countenance  against 
an  angry  community.  She  sought  honestly  to  act  out  her 
thought,  obeyed  the  rule,  — 

1  Go  put  your  creed 
Into  the  deed ' ; 

was  ready  to  die  for  a  principle  or  starve  for  an  idea,  nor 
think  to  claim  any  merit  for  it." 

"  Looking  Toward  Sunset,"  to  which  Mr.  Phillips  alludes, 
was  published  in  1864,  the  last  year  of  the  war.  It  was  a 
collection  in  prose  and  verse  by  various  authors,  all  bearing 
upon  the  subject  of  old  age.  It  met  with  a  most  cordial 
reception. 

"My  sunset  book  has  had  most  unexpected  success," 
writes  its  author.  "  The  edition  of  four  thousand  sold  before 
New  Year's  Day,  and  they  say  they  might  have  sold  two 


246  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

thousand  more  if  they  had  been  ready.  This  pleases  me 
beyond  measure,  for  the  proceeds,  whether  more  or  less, 
were  vowed  to  the  freedmen  ;  and  cheering  old  folks  with  one 
hand,  and  helping  the  wronged  and  suffering  with  the  other, 
is  the  highest  recreation  I  ever  enjoyed.  Nobles  or  princes 
cannot  discover  or  invent  any  pleasure  equal  to  earning  with 
one  hand  and  giving  with  the  other." 

In  1867  appeared  "A  Romance  of  the  Republic,"  which 
met  with  equal  welcome.  Its  scenes  were  laid  in  the  South, 
and  its  plot  hinged  on  what  had  been  the  great  interest  of 
Mrs.  Child's  life,  the  slavery  question. 

For  seven  years  after  the'  publication  of  "  A  Romance  of 
the  Republic,"  the  peaceful  life  at  Wayland  continued.  Age 
was  laying  his  quieting  hand  on  Mrs.  Child's  energetic  pulses, 
but  his  touch  neither  dulled  her  sympathies  nor  blunted  her 
discrimination.  She  was  systematically  cheerful.  "  Cheer- 
fulness is  to  the  spiritual  atmosphere  what  sunshine  is  to  the 
earthly  landscape,"  she  said.  "  I  am  resolved  to  cherish 
cheerfulness  with  might  and  main.  The  world  is  so  full  of 
sadness  that  I  more  and  more  make  it  a  point  of  duty  to 
avoid  all  sadness  that  does  not  come  within  the  sphere  of  my 
duty.  I  read  only  f  chipper' books.  I  hang  prisms  in  my 
windows  to  fill  the  room  with  rainbows ;  I  gaze  at  all  the 
bright  pictures  in  the  shop  windows  ;  I  seek  cheerfulness  in 
every  possible  way.  This  is  my  '  necessity  in  being  old.' " 

Her  letters  during  this  interval  are  full  of  comments  on 
books.  Reading,  then,  as  always,  was  her  chief  recreation, 
and  served  as  stimulus  and  refreshment  after  her  daily  tasks. 

In  a  letter  dated  June  18,  1874,  occurs  this  calm  and 
beautiful  passage :  — 

"  David  and  I  are  growing  old.  He  will  be  eighty  in  three 
weeks,  and  I  was  seventy-two  last  February.  But  we  keep 
young  in  our  feelings.  We  are,  in  fact,  like  two  old  chil- 
dren ;  as  much  interested  as  ever  in  the  birds  and  the  wild 
flowers,  and  with  sympathies  as  lively  as  ever  in  all  that  con- 
cerns the  welfare  of  the  world.  Our  habitual  mood  is  serene 
and  cheerful.  The  astonishing  activity  of  evil  sometimes 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  247 

makes  me  despondent  for  a  while,  but  my  belief  returns  as 
strong  as  ever,  that  there  is  more  good  than  evil  in  the 
world,  and  that  the  all-wise  Being  is  guiding  the  good  to 
certain  victory.  How  blest  are  those  whom  He  employs  as 
His  agents."  m 

With  the  following  October  came  the  stroke  which  severed 
this  long  and  happy  union.  Mrs.  Child  bore  it  with  ac- 
customed bravery.  She  writes  to  a  dear  friend  :  — 

"I  was  wonderfully  calm  at  the  time,  and  for.  twenty-four 
hours  afterward,  but  since  then  1  seem  to  get  more  and  more 
sensitive  and  distressed.  I  try  hard  to  overcome  it,  for  I  do 
not  want  to  cast  a  shadow  over  others.  Moreover  I  feel 
that  such  states  of  mind  are  wrong.  There  are  so  many 
reasons  for  thankfulness  to  the  Heavenly  Father.  And  I  do 
feel  very  thankful  that  he  did  not  suffer  for  a  long  time,  that 
the  powers  of  his  mind  were  undimmed  to  the  last ;  that  my 
strength  and  faculties  were  preserved  to  take  care  of  him  to 
the  last ;  and  that  the  heavy  burden  of  loneliness  has  fallen 
upon  me  rather  than  upon  him. 

"  But  at  times  it  seems  as  if  I  could  no  longer  bear  the 
load.  I  keep  breaking  down.  They  told  me  I  should  feel 
better  after  I  got  away  from  Wayland,  where  memories 
haunted  me  at  every  step.  But  I  do  not  feel  better.  On  the 
contrary,  I  am  more  deeply  sad.  The  coming  and  going  of 
people  talking  about  subjects  of  common  interest  makes  life 
seem  like  a  foreign  land,  where  I  do  not  understand  the 
language,  and  I  go  back  to  my  darling  old  mate  with  a  more 
desperate  and  clinging  tenderness.  And  when  there  comes 
no  response  but  the  memory  of  that  narrow  little  spot  where 
I  planted  flowers  the  day  before  I  left  our  quiet  little  nest,  it 
seems  to  me  as  if  all  were  gone,  and  as  if  I  stood  alone  on  a 
solitary  rock  in  mid-ocean,  alone  in  midnight  darkness,  hear- 
ing nothing  but  the  surging  of  the  cold  waves." 

To  another  friend  she  writes:  "I  have  passed  through  a 
very  severe  ordeal  in  separating  from  the  loving  and  beloved 
companion  of  half  a  century,  and  in  the  breaking  up  of  the 
cosy  little  nest  where  we  had  passed  so  many  comfortable 


248  LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD. 

years.  I  do  not  suppose  that  time  will  ever  entirely  heal  the 
deep  wound,  but  I  trust  the  sharpness  of  suffering  will  sub- 
side sufficiently  to  enable  me  to  be  of  some  use  during  the 
remainder  of  the  time  that  remains  to  me  in  this  world.  I 
cannot  solve  the  problem  of  this  world,  except  by  supposing 
it  to  be  a  primary  school  for  another ;  but  that  other  world 
seems  too  far  off,  and  the  conditions  of  existence  there  too 
vague,  to  be  positive  relief  from  the  loneliness  of  separation. 
I  can  only  wait  and  trust." 

f'  Wait  and  trust, "  she  did,  but  for  a  time  life  was  become 
a  hard  struggle.  "People  are  very  kind,  but  I  cannot  banish 
the  desolate  feeling  that  I  belong  to  nobody  and  nobody  be- 
longs to  me,"  she  tells  a  friend  during  the  year  following  her 
husband's  death.  Such  recognition  of  loneliness  is  the  al- 
most inevitable  fate  of  one  or  other  of  a  childless  pair,  who, 
for  a  long  term  of  years,  have  been  all  in  all  to  each  other. 
Mrs.  Child  had  never  a  son  or  daughter  of  her  own,  though, 
as  some  one  said,  "  a  great  many  of  other  people's." 

Calmness  and  comfort  came  with  time  and  with  the  min- 
istrations of  the  man}'  friends  who  surrounded  her.  Her  last 
book,  "Aspirations  of  the  World,"  a  volume  of  selections  on 
moral  and  religious  subjects,  was  published  in  1878. 

On  the  morning  of  October  20,  1880,  she  died,  after  a  few 
brief  moments  of  suffering.  The  generous  heart  which  had 
beat  with  all  the  strongest  pulses  of  her  century  had  at  last 
expended  its  force,  and  peacefully  and  easily  the  end  came. 

The  funeral  was,  as  befitted  one  like  her,  plain  and  simple. 
Mr.  Whittier  tells  us  :  "  The  pall-bearers  were  elderly,  plain 
farmers  in  the  neighborhood,  and  led  by  the  old  white-haired 
undertaker,  the  procession  wound  its  way  to  the  not  distant 
burial-ground  over  the  red  and  gold  of  fallen  leaves,  and 
under  the  half-covered  October  sky.  Just  after  her  body  was 
consigned  to  the  earth  a  magnificent  rainbow  spanned,  with 
its  arc  of  glory,  the  eastern  sky." 

We  can  hardly  close  this  little  sketch  more  fittingly  than 
with  the  beautiful  words  added  to  her  recently  published 
w  Correspondence  "  by  Mr.  Wendell  Phillips :  — 


LYDIA  MARIA  CHILD.  249 

"  A  dear,  lovable  woman,  welcome  at  a  sick  bedside ;  as 
much  in  place  there  as  when  facing  an  angry  nation ;  con- 
tented with  the  home  she  had  made.  A  wise  counsellor,  one 
who  made  your  troubles  hers,  and  pondered  thoughtfully 
before  she  spoke  her  hearty  word.  She  was  the  kind  of 
woman  one  would  choose  to  represent  woman's  entrance  into 
broader  life.  Modest,  womanly,  sincere,  simple,  solid,  real, 
loyal,  to  be  trusted;  equal  to  affairs,  and  yet  above  them; 
mother  wit  ripened  by  careful  training  and  enriched  by  the 
lore  of  ages  ;  a  hand  ready  for  fireside  help  and  a  mystic 
loving  to  wander  on  the  edge  of  the  actual,  reaching  out  up 
into  the  infinite  and  the  unfathomable,  so  that  life  was  lifted 
to  romance,  to  heroism,  and  to  loftiest  faith." 
16 


CHAPTER  XI. 
MAEY    CLEMMEE. 

BY  LILIAN  WHITING. 

Mary  Clemmer's  Ancestry  —  Pen-portraits  of  Her  Father  and  Mother— Her 
Childhood  —  School-life  and  Early  Education  —  Publishing  Her  First 
Verses  —  Beginning  Her  Literary  Career  —  Removal  to  New  York  —  First 
Newspaper  Letters  — Marvellous  Industry  and  Capacity  for  Work  — 
Contracting  to  Write  a  Column  a  Day  for  Three  Years  —  A  Chapter  from 
Her  Experiences  During  the  War  —  Vivid  Description  of  the  Surrender  of 
Maryland  Heights  — Her  Journalistic  Work —  How  She  Gathers  Materials 
for  "  A  Woman's  Letter  from  Washington  "  —Charles  Sumner's  Friend- 
ship—A Busy  Life  —  Sought  and  Caressed  by  Society  —  Tribute  to  the 
Memory  of  Alice  and  Phcebe  Cary. 

MONG  the  women  of  letters  in  our  own  country, 
few  have  appealed  to  the  public  by  work  that 
has  attracted  so  wide  a  personal  response  as  has 
Mary  Clemmer. 

In  1866  she  inaugurated  an  original  and 
specific  line  of  journalistic  work  that  at  once 
fixed  public  attention.  Thousands  of  families 
became  subscribers  to  the  "New  York  Inde- 
pendent" when  that  journal  began  the  publication 
of  "  A  Woman's  Letter  from  Washington."  Mary 
Clemmer's  first  letter  to  the  "Independent"  was  written 
March  4,  1866.  In  the  years  that  have  passed  between  that 
date  and  the  present,  Mrs.  Clemmer  has  become  widely  known 
as  a  poet  and  novelist ;  yet  it  is  as  the  fine  interpreter  of  the 
important  phases  of  Washington  life  through  an  eventful  series 
of  years  that  we  see  her  most  distinctive  work.  Her  letters 
from  the  Capital  have  always  been  significant  of  fine  percep- 
tion, wide  comprehension,  and  a  refined  insight  into  the  sub- 
tle relations  and  the  undercurrents  of  human  life.  Strong  in 
their  political  characterization,  these  letters  have  been  a  potent 

250 


MARY  CLEMMER.  251 

force  in  the  shaping  of  national  issues  by  their  power  to 
influence  public  opinion. 

Mary  Clemmer  was  born  in  Utica,  New  York.  Her 
father,  Abraham  Clemmer,  a  native  of  Pennsylvania,  was  of 
Huguenot  descent.  Her  mother,  Margaret  Kneale,  was  born 
in  the  Isle  of  Man. 

The  Clemmer  family  trace  their  origin  to  Alsatia,  France, 
on  the  borders  of  Germany.  Their  name  in  the  fatherland 
was  spelled  Klemmer.  In  1685,  when  Louis  XIV.  pushed 
his  persecutions  of  the  Huguenots  past  the  borders  of  France 
into  the  very  heart  of  Germany,  the  Clemmer  family  were 
among  the  million  Huguenots  who  then  fled  from  their  native 
soil  to  seek  refuge  in  strange  lands.  The}-  settled  in  Berks 
county,  Pennsylvania,  before  the  American  Revolution. 
Jonas  Clemmer,  the  father  of  Abraham  Clemmer,  an  edu- 
cated man,  a  teacher  by  profession,  died  when  his  son  was 
but  five  years  of  age  —  his  death  changing  the  entire  earthly 
destiny  of  his  child. 

The  mother  of  Abraham  Clemmer,  born  Barbara  Schelley, 
came  also  from  Huguenot  stock.  The  male  members  of 
her  family  for  many  generations  had  been  practitioners  of 
medicine,  or  professors  of  medical  science.  Her  brothers 
were  educated  as  physicians,  and  their  sons  to-day  are  prac- 
tising physicians  in  the  State  of  Pennsylvania.  She,  a  girl, 
denied  the  liberal  education  bestowed  upon  her  brothers, 
possessed  in  no  less  degree  than  they  the  instinct  of  healing. 
With  none  of  the  training  that  bestows  a  college  diploma  she 
became  famous  in  the  country  surrounding  her  home  for  her 
knowledge  of  medicines,  her  skill  in  using  them,  and  in 
healing  the  sick.  A  woman  of  magnificent  constitution,  of 
great  force  of  character,  of  profound  sweetness  of  disposi- 
tion, she  died  in  the  homestead  in  Pennsylvania,  where  she 
lived  from  her  youth,  as  late  as  the  year  1873,  aged  eighty- 
two  years. 

The  early  death  of  his  father,  with  the  burden  that  death 
cast  upon  his  mother  of  caring  for  a  growing  family,  were, 
together,  the  causes  which  denied  to  Abraham  Clemmer  the 


252  MARY  CLEMMER. 

liberal  education,  the  thorough  mental  discipline,  which,  up 
to  his  time,  had  been  the  birthright  of  his  family. 

In  response  to  a  request  from  the  writer  of  this  sketch, 
Mary  Clemmer  writes  of  her  father  :  — 

"  The  first  memory  I  recall  of  the  aspect  of  my  father  was 
when  I  was  five  years  old.  They  placed  me  in  a  high  chair  at 
the  tea-table,  and  instead  of  eating,  I  sat  gazing  at  my  father, 
because  to  my  child's  vision  he  looked  so  handsome.  My  first 
outburst  of  grief  I  recall  at  the  same  table,  when  a  person  told 
me  that  some  time  my  father's  raven  hair  would  be  gray. 
The  announcement  to  me  was  so  terrible  I  burst  into  tears. 

"  Abraham  Clemmer  carried  in  his  bearing  and  on  his  face 
the  visible  stamp  of  a  superior  race.  He  was  of  fine  stature, 
with  an  alert  step  and  a  haughty  poise  of  the  head.  His 
features  were  patrician  in  outline  and  expression.  His  head 
high,  his  hair  black  and  curling,  his  brows  arched,  his  hazel 
eyes  dark  and  full,  his  nose  finely  aquiline,  his  mouth  as  ex- 
quisitely cut  as  Apollo's,  with  the  suggestion  of  disdain  in 
its  curves,  yet  full  of  sweetness.  This  was  the  beauty  of  his 
prime.  In  old  age,  in  its  patriarchal  aspect,  it  became  still 
more  uncommon,  and  in  death  was  so  remarkable  that  those 
who  had  never  seen  him  in  life,  looking  upon  him  in  his  last 
sleep,  robed  for  the  grave,  recall  his  face  to-day,  with  the 
seal  of  ineffable  peace  upon  it,  as  one  of  the  most  nobly 
beautiful  that  they  had  ever  gazed  upon  in  death. 

"  He  had  the  temperament  of  the  poet.  He  loved  Nature 
with  that  passion  which  finds  in  her  presence  perpetual  satis- 
faction and  solace.  He  loved  beauty  with  the  fine  fervor 
that  makes  its  love  religion.  He  loved  music  with  an  enthu- 
siasm that  was  in  itself  an  inspiration.  He  wrote  with  great 
elegance,  drew  with  remarkable  accuracy  and  facility  —  was 
a  natural  linguist. 

"  With  due  opportunity  he  would  have  excelled  as  an  artist, 
or  have  succeeded  in  any  profession  demanding  the  develop- 
ment of  the  finest  mental  faculties.  What  in  his  whole  life 
he  never  attained  was  the  power  of  calculation  indispensable 
to  merely  material  success. 


MARY    CLEMMER. 


MARY  CLEMMER.  255 

"  Born  of  a  race  for  many  generations  devoted  exclusively 
to  artistic  and  scientific  pursuits,  the  calculating  insight,  the 
forethought  of  the  money-getter,  the  commercial  instinct 
that  commands  financial  gain  were  left  by  nature  out  of  his 
temperamental  and  mental  make-up. 

"  Unadapted  in  every  way  to  a  life  of  business,  the  circum- 
stances of  his  lot  doomed  him  early  to  it,  with  the  inevita- 
ble sequence  —  failure  in  all  the  results  that  build  up  financial 
fortune.  He  lived  and  died  a  poor  man,  bequeathing  to  his 
children  as  their  supreme  earthly  inheritance,  the  necessity 
of  shaping  life  for  themselves.  His  generosity  was  a  fault, 
giving  to  others,  often  to  the  unworthy,  what  he  should  have 
kept  for  himself  and  his  children.  Honorable  at  any  cost  to 
himself,  his  heart  was  full  of  charity.  In  my  whole  life  I 
never  heard  him  speak  to  the  detriment  of  any  human  being. 
The  absent  were  always  safe  in  his  kindly  and  gentle  speech. 
His  youth  glowed  with  fire  and  with  dreams  for  the  future  — 
whose  fulfilment  the  limitations  of  his  lot  made  impossible. 

"No  man  ever  put  more  patience,  more  industry,  more 
energy,  into  his  struggles  for  a  home  and  a  competency. 
With  a  little,  only  a  little,  more  iron  in  his  nature,  he  could 
have  compelled  adversity  to  have  yielded  to  fortune,  —  could 
have  commanded  the  friends  who  never  dreamed  that  they 
could  have  served  him  till  it  was  too  late.  '  It  was  not  in 
him.'  He  yielded  to  the  blows  of  adverse  fate  —  he  never 
struck  back.  He  accepted  at  last  the  fact  of  material  failure 
as  the  final  sum  of  his  lot  —  accepted  it  with  a  gentleness  and 
a  patience  which  lifted  its  very  pathos  into  the  atmosphere  of 
serenity.  But  the  absolute  consciousness  of  this  fact  was  the 
final  blow  of  fortune.  It  broke  his  spirit ;  after  it  he  never 
struggled  again.  He  mellowed  into  old  age  with  a  childlike- 
ness  and  sweetness  of  temper  which  won  the  hearts  of  all  who 
approached  him.  Years  of  wasting  malady  he  bore  with  a 
patience  that  was  angelic.  Hour  by  hour  he  drew  constant 
solace  from  Nature,  — from  the  beauty  of  the  green  earth 
that  he  loved.  The  joy  of  sight  never  failed  him  till  it  failed 
him  on  earth  forever.  Not  till  the  day  he  died  was  his  chair 


256  MARY  CLEMMER. 

by  the  window  vacant,  where  for  years  he  had  gazed  out  on 
the  roses  of  his  garden  and  on  the  gay  sights  of  the  streets 
of  the  Capital  city. 

"That  Christmas  Sabbath  morning,  1881,  when  asked  if 
he  felt  able  to  go  down  stairs,  for  the  first  time  he  shook  his 
head.  Before  another  morning  God  took  him. 

"  A  Christian  believer  from  youth,  with  a  smile  ineffable 
which  chanced  to  fall  upon  the  face  of  his  child  —  his  last  look 
on  earth,* — without  a  sigh  he  passed  out  to  the  Father  of  his 
spirit.  Never  did  that  FATHER  gather  back  to  His  all-loving 
heart  a  more  ingenuous,  a  more  gentle,  a  more  loving  child. 

"  Such,  ever  mourned,  ever  missed,  ever  loved,  was  —  is  — 
my  father. 

"  One  day  that  was  his  very  own — a  day  all  balm  and  azure 
and  gold  —  we  laid  all  of  him  that  was  dust  in  God's  acre  in 
the  inalienable  churchyard  of  Rock  Creek,  in  a  suburb  of  the 
city  of  Washington,  where  the  pines  will  sough,  the  birds 
sing  above  his  head,  the  creek  murmur,  the  flowers  bloom 
beside  him,  till  the  Resurrection." 

The  mother  of  Mary  Clemmer  (born  Margaret  Kneale) 
came  from  the  Isle  of  Man.  This  little  island,  in  the  storm- 
tossed  Irish  sea,  has  an  importance  wholly  disproportionate 
to  its  geographical  extent.  It  has  a  government  of  its  own, 
a  House  of  Parliament,  a  people  descended  through  genera- 
tions of  noble  blood,  a  striking  and  eventful  history.  In 
Hawthorne's  English  Note-book  he  has  recorded  his  impres- 
sions of  the  historic  spot ;  and  from  its  scenery  and  romantic 
traditions  Scott  collected  his  material  for  "Peveril  of  the 
Peak."  The  island  history  dates  back  to  the  time  that  the 
Norsemen  were  mighty  in  the  West. 

Wordsworth's  famous  line,  — 

"The  light  that  never  was  on  sea  or  land," 

is  in  a  poem  that  was  "suggested  by  a  picture  of  Peele  Castle 
in  a  storm."  Just  outside  the  ramparts  of  that  castle  Mar- 
garet Kneale  was  born,  and  under  its  ancient  archways  she 
played  through  all  her  childhood.  The  influences  of  this 


MARY  CLEMMER.  257 

spot  entered  into  her  life,  and  have  flowered  into  conscious' 
ness  in  the  life  of  her  gifted  daughter. 

The  Isle  of  Man  lies  in  a  temperature  that  fosters  a 
wonderful  beauty  and  luxuriance  of  nature.  Fuschias  grow 
and  mass  their  scarlet  blossoms  ten  and  twelve  feet  high.  The 
mist-crowned  heights  shine  sun-touched  and  fair  above  the 
purple  defiles  of  rocky  valleys,  over  which  foam-crested 
cascades  rush,  tumbling  into  the  river  below.  An  old  legend 
runs  that  the  isle  had  once  a  wizard  king  who  enshrouded  it 
with  vapor.  Here  King  Harold  Haarfager  reigned,  and  here 
the  Vikings  held  their  sea-throne.  Myth  and  legend  have 
vanished  now.  The  island  is  only  seventy-five  miles  from 
Liverpool,  and  a  line  of  daily  steamers  connects  it  with  the 
outer  world.  Yet  something  in  the  sturdy  poise  of  its  race 
recalls  the  old  motto  of  the  land,  Quocunque  jeceris  stabit. 
[However  you  throw  it,  it  will  stand.]  The  old  enchant- 
ment hovers  over  the  spot,  although  a  sail  of  six  hours  brings 
one  into  the  life  of  to-day. 

Mary  Clemmer  writes  of  her  mother  and  her  parentage : 
w  William  Kneale  is  a  name  still  most  honorably  known  in  the 
Isle  of  Man  as  borne  by  the  author,  Mr.  William  Kneale,  of 
Douglas.  In  1827  my  grandfather,  William  Kneale,  a  deeply 
religious  and  studious  man,  desiring  for  his  young  children  a 
larger  outlook  and  more  extended  educational  advantages 
than  the  Isle  of  Man  at  that  time  afforded,  sold  his  patrimony 
with  that  of  his  proud,  high-spirited  wife  (born  Margaret 
Crane)  and  sailed  for  America.  His  destination  with  his 
family  was  the  State  of  Ohio ;  but  meeting  friends  from  the 
island  by  the  way  at  the  young  city  of  Utica,  New  York, 
he  paused  on  his  journey  and  never  resumed  it.  He  at  once 
purchased  a  homestead,  which,  now  in  the  heart  of  the  city  of 
Utica,  is  still  in  possession  of  his  family.  In  this  homestead 
grew  to  womanhood,  and  was  married,  Margaret  Kneale. 

"  She  was  a  dazzlingly  fair,  wide-eyed,  blue-eyed  daughter 
of  the  Vikings.  She  brought  with  her  to  bleak  New  York 
not  only  the  radiant  complexion  for  which  the  women  of 
Mona's  Isle  are  famous,  but  also  all  the  best  inherited  traits 


258  MARY  CLEMMER. 

of  her  ancient  race,  —  a  passion  for  liberty  in  its  relation  to 
the  whole  human  family  ;  absolute  faith  in  God ;  the  deepest, 
most  spontaneous  religious  fervor,  with  an  intense  desire  for 
knowledge  that  pervaded  her  entire  being. 

"  The  city  of  Utica,  settled  by  many  of  the  oldest  and  most 
cultivated  families  of  New  England,  lured  from  their  sterile 
surroundings  by  the  opulent  soil  and  magnificent  promise  of 
the  Mohawk  Valley,  was  from  its  very  beginning  a  small 
centre  of  religious,  educational,  philanthropic,  and  reforma- 
tory ideas  and  action.  It  was  a  rallying  point  for  the  early 
"Abolitionists."  Beriah  Green,  Alvan  Stuart,  and  Gerritt 
Smith,  in  those  days  were  the  apostles  and  prophets  of  free- 
dom to  the  slave.  From  the  convocations  over  which  they 
presided  issued  such  Abolitionists  as  John  Brown,  William 
Lloyd  Garrison,  and  Wendell  Phillips. 

"To  the  influence  of  such  public  teachers,  to  the  marvel- 
lously active  spirit  of  f  reform '  which  in  all  the  churches 
insisted  on  the  highest  thinking,  acting,  and  living  in  every 
phase  of  human  life ;  added  to  the  same  influence  in  her  own 
home,  wherein  her  father  was  not  only  the  father  of  his  chil- 
dren, but  a  father  in  the  church,  —  may  be  traced  that  lifelong 
devotion  to  every  good  cause,  especially  to  that  of  the  down- 
trodden and  oppressed  everywhere,  which  marks  Margaret 
Clemmer  in  Washington  to-day,  as  it t marked  young  Mar- 
garet Kneale  in  Utica  long  ago." 

In  this  city,  where  he  chanced  to  be  making  a  casual  visit, 
she  met  and  married  Abraham  Clemmer,  and  here  Mary 
Clemmer  and  other  children  were  born. 

As  a  child  Mary  Clemmer  is  described  by  those  who  have 
known  her  from  infancy  as  being  singularly  beautiful  and 
engaging  in  manner,  and  as  living  much  in  her  ideal  world, 
even  in  those  early  days.  Seated  in  her  little  rocking-chair, 
or  wandering  in  the  shaded  grounds,  while  the  wind  touched 
caressingly  the  sunny,  breeze-blown  hair,  she  would  compose 
rhymes,  repeating  them  to  herself,  long  before  she  learned  the 
use  of  a  pen.  To  the  curious  student  of  heredity  here  was  a 
rare  and  a  wonderful  mingling  of  forces.  The  poetic  legends 


MARY  CLEMMER.  259 

and  the  magic  of  the  Isle  of  Man  that  were  assimilated  into 
the  life  of  the  mother ;  the  positive  element  giving  creative 
force  from  the  grandmother,  and  the  deeply  artistic  nature  of 
the  father  coloring  her  entire  being  and  attuning  it  to  the 
inspirational  temperament. 

When  she  had  just  passed  childhood,  business  circum- 
stances led  Abraham  Clemmer  to  remove  to  Westfield,  Mass., 
where  two  brothers  of  his  wife,  one  Hon.  Thomas  Kueale, 
had  already  settled. 

In  due  time  Mary  Clemmer  entered  the  academy  of  West- 
field,  one  of  whose  early  teachers  long  before  her  birth  was 
the  famous  Mrs.  Emma  Willard.  It  was  one  of  those  stable 
and  stately  schools  of  the  past,  where  young  men  were  fitted 
for  college  and  young  girls  were  taught  dubious  French,  and 
how  to  read  fluently  Virgil  and  Homer.  Naturally  enough 
books  were  to  her  a  passion.  The  principal  of  the  school, 
William  C.  Goldthwaite,  one  of  the  rarest  and  best  teachers 
Massachusetts  ever  produced,  took  great  interest  in  this 
young  girl,  and  especial  pleasure  and  pains  in  the  cultivation 
of  her  mind.  While  a  student  in  the  Westfield  Academy  her 
first  line  in  verse  was  put  into  print.  Read  as  a  school 
exercise,  it  pleased  one  of  her  teachers,  Samuel  Davis, 
sufficiently  to  impel  him  to  send  it  to  his  friend,  Samuel 
Bowles,  who  printed  it  at  once  in  the  "  Springfield  Re- 
publican." 

In  every  life  there  is  an  hour  when  the  keynote  of  the 
future  is  struck.  At  Westfield  this  hour  came  to  Mary 
Clemmer.  For  a  literary  exercise  was  chosen  one  day  that 
sweetest  poem  of  Alice  Gary's,  "  Pictures  of  Memory."  Its 
beauty  was  noted  by  Professor  Goldthwaite,  and  after  dwell- 
ing on  its  rhythm  as  the  most  perfect  in  language,  he  went  on 
to  speak  of  the  life  of  its  author,  Alice  Gary. 

"  It  fell  upon  me  like  a  tale  of  romance,"  said  Mrs.  Clem- 
mer, in  referring  to  this  time,  "and  I  went  on  thinking  of  her." 
In  that  hour  was  forged  the  unseen  links  of  a  chain  of  lifelong 
friendship  between  two  noble  women.  Natives  of  the  same 
land  of  song,  the  subtle  affinities  of  nature  reached  through 


260  MARY  CLEMMER. 

time  and  space.  Years  after,  when  the  young  girl  whose 
nature  responded  so  swiftly  to  that  poem  had  grown  to  early 
womanhood,  she  went  to  New  York,  and  the  woman-poet  she 
had  cherished  as  an  ideal  became  to  her  the  wise  counsellor, 
the  tender  friend  :  while  in  turn  the  young  girl  met  her  with 
a  new  and  rare  appreciation,  and  became  her  trusted  friend, 
her  perfect  biographer. 

When  the  young  girl  went  to  New  York  she  went  bearing 
another  name.  While  yet  a  school-girl,  with  no  knowledge 
of  actual  life,  with  no  desire  of  her  own  to  impel  her  to  the 
step  she  took,  moved  by  misfortune  that  had  fallen  upon  her 
home,  she  yielded  to  the  wishes  and  the  will  of  others,  and 
was  married  to  a  man  many  years  her  senior.  All  that  was 
spiritually  right  in  this  relation  called  a  marriage  was  its 
final,  legal  annulment.  When  with  mutual  good-will  the 
two  honorably  parted,  she  in  law,  as  she  was  by  birth, 
became  again  by  title  solely  Mary  Clemmer. 

Before  this  separation  occurred,  in  the  first  flower  of 
her  youth,  while  living  in  the  city  of  New  York,  her 
artistic  nature  found  its  first  expression.  Her  first  essay 
in  the  journalism  she  was  destined  to  ennoble  and  adorn 
was  made  in  the  columns  of  the  Utica  "Morning  Herald," 
to  which  she  contributed  a  series  of  letters  from  New 
York. 

About  this  time  Mrs.  Clemmer  wrote  a  touching  little  waif 
of  a  poem  which  has  never  since  that  date  been  republished. 
As  it  holds  in  its  simple  pathos  a  clue  to  her  complex  inner 
life  at  this  period,  the  following  stanzas  of  the  lines  entitled 
"My  Little  Sister  "  are  here  reproduced  :  — 

"  Come  to  my  arms,  my  little  sister, 

Thou  of  the  large  brown  eyes, 
In  whose  deep  wells  thoughts  softly  tremble 

Like  light  in  twilight  skies. 
Come  to  my  arms,  my  little  sister, 

Thou  of  the  gleaming  hair ; 
Whose  sunny  life  ne'er  wore  a  shadow 

Lost  from  the  wing  of  care. 


MARY  CLEHMER.  261 

"  I've  joined  the  host  of  eager  runners 

Whose  race  is  for  a  prize ; 
My  soul  hath  laid  on  Toil's  great  altar 

Its  holiest  sacrifice. 
A  life  of  lofty  aim  and  effort 

Is  that  which  suits  me  best, 
Till  I  lie  still  on  Death's  chill  bosom 

I  do  not  ask  to  rest. 

"  To-day  I've  paused  amid  the  struggle, 

I've  banished  every  care ; 
I've  passed  again  Home's  placid  portal 

And  ta'en  my  vacant  chair. 
My  little  sister's  fond  caresses, 

Her  winsome,  winning  ways, 
Make  glad  my  heart  that  loves  and  blesses 

And  joins  her  pleasant  plays, 
Till  I  live  over  in  her  presence 

My  childhood's  merry  days. 

"  Still  play  with  me,  my  little  sister, 

I  am  so  glad  to-night, 
That  childhood  in  earth's  darkest  places 

Spreads  out  its  wings  of  light,  — 
That  I  may  turn  from  earth's  proud  teachers, 

Turn  from  the  earth's  deceit, 
And  learn  so  many  holy  lessons 

At  childhood's  sinless  feet." 

Beginning  with  no  practical  training  for,  or  actual  know- 
ledge of  journalism,  she,  groping  her  way,  obeyed  the  law 
of  necessity,  and  through  her  obedience  to  it  at  last  came  her 
opportunity.  In  early  youth  she  came  to  know  many  cares 
and  to  bear  heavy  responsibilities,  which  together  left  her  no 
choice  of  what  she  would  do. 

Recalling  this  time  Mrs.  Clemmer  wrote  of  it  in  a  private 
letter  to  a  friend  :  — 

"No  one  can  grow  as  a  writer  unless  she  grows  as  a 
thinker.  Comparatively  few  appreciate  the  value  of  the 
discipline  of  trained  faculties,  that  may  come  through  doing 
faithfully  and  well  the  drudgery,  so  to  speak,  of  intellectual 


262  MAKY  CLEMMER. 

work.  ...  I  once  entered  into  a  written  contract  to  write 
one  column  per  day  on  any  subject  I  was  instructed  to  write 
on,  for  three  years  in  advance,  and  at  the  end  of  that 
three  years  I  had  not,  for  a  single  day,  failed  of  fulfilling 
my  task,  which  included  everything  from  book  revision, 
comments  on  government,  public  men  and  affairs,  to  a  com- 
mon advertisement  paragraph.  You  see  that  I  did  not  miss 
the  apprenticeship  of  literary  work.  ...  It  was  a  toilsome 
time,  but  one  positive  satisfaction  I  feel  in  looking  back  is  the 
consciousness  of  the  entire  command  it  gave  me  of  all  my 
mental  forces.  It  cured  me  utterly  of  the  mental  perversity 
that  waits  for  the  inspiration  of  creative  moods  to  do  what  is 
necessary  to  be  done.  No  matter  how  great  the  disinclina- 
tion, whenever  I  had  anything  to  do  I  did  it,  illy  sometimes, 
sometimes  better,  but  /  did  it,  the  very  best  I  could  at  that 
moment.  The  final  result  was  not  deterioration  in  style,  but 
a  much  higher  aggregate  of  forces  and  of  command." 

There  are  certain  very  severe  limits  that  must  suggest 
themselves  in  attempting  biographical  details  of  one  who  is 
in  and  of  the  life  of  to-day.  :f  The  wreath  of  immortelles 
that  could  be  fitly  placed  on  a  grave  cannot  be  laid  on  a 
library  table."  The  life  that  is  dramatic  in  outward  facts  is 
the  exceptional  life.  Karely  is  it  that  of  the  eventful  inner 
life  whose  creations  are  its  crises.  Men  are  born  and  go 
through  life  and  die  with  little  in  the  framework  of  outer 
circumstances  to  distinguish  one  from  another.  Events 
spring  from  within. 

Yet  when  the  war  came  Mary  Clemmer  was  literally  in  it. 
In  her  novel  "  Eirene,"  the  chapter  on  the  "  Surrender  of 
Maryland  Heights  "  was  written  from  personal  experience  and 
personal  observation.  At  that  time  "Eirene"  was  running 
as  a  serial  in  "  Putnam's  Monthly,"  and  this  vivid  and  graphic 
picture  of  a  war  event  was  widely  copied  by  the  press  of  that 
day,  and  was  reproduced  in  "  Littell's  Living  Age,"  and  in 
the  "London  Athenaeum." 

From  this  memorable  description  of  the  surrender  of 
Maryland  Heights  is  extracted  the  following  :  — 


MARY  CLEMMER.  263 

SEPTEMBER,  1862. 

We  had  been  expecting  to  hear  the  rebel  guns  for  a  week. 
From  the  moment  that  we  learned  certainly  that  the  Confederates 
were  in  possession  of  PVederick ;  that  they  had  destroyed  the 
railroad  bridge  at  Monocacy ;  that  they  had  entirely  surrounded 
us,  we  knew  that  they  were  only  awaiting  their  own  convenience 
to  attack  Maryland  Heights. 

"  If  we  can  only  keep  the  Heights,"  we  said,  as  we  looked  with 
anxious  eyes  to  the  green  pastures  above  us,  "if  we  can  only 
keep  the  Heights,  we  are  safe."  We  could  not  forget  that  Jack- 
son said,  when  last  here,  "  Give  me  Maryland  Heights,  and  I  will 
defy  the  world." 

Of  what  avail  would  be  the  force  in  battle-line  on  Bolivar 
Heights,  three  miles  away ;  of  the  array  of  infantry  lining  the 
road  to  Charlestown ;  the  earthworks,  the  rifle-pits,  the  bat- 
teries—  of  what  avail  all,  if  from  the  other  side  Jackson  ascended 
Maryland  Heights  and  turned  our  guns  against  us ! 

The  boys  had  just  had  their  breakfast  on  Saturday  morning, 
September  13,  when  the  quick,  cruel  ring  of  musketry  cutting  the 
air  made  them  start.  On  one  side  was  the  Shenandoah,  bounded 
by  Loudoun  Heights,  on  the  other  the  Potomac,  with  the  Heights 
of  Maryland,  a  high,  green,  precipitous  wall,  towering  above  its 
opposite  shore. 

Jackson  had  come.  Through  the  blue  of  that  transcendent 
morning  the  sunlit  woods  upon  the  mountain-tops  were  echoing 
with  death.  Volley  after  volley  shivered  the  air,  and  with  it  the 
bodies  of  men.  At  first  the  report  was  far  up  on  the  very  moun- 
tain summit;  then  it  grew  nearer,  rattling  louder,  and  I  knew 
that  the  enemy  were  advancing.  I  heard  their  dreadful  war-cry 
and  caught  the  flash  of  their  bayonets  piercing  the  green  woods. 

Suddenly  the  cry  grew  fainter,  the  resounding  guns  seemed 
muffled  in  the  thicket,  and  a  loud  shout  from  the  soldiers  of  the 
republic  told  that  they  were  driving  back  the  foe.  The  sounds  of 
battle  palpitated  to  and  fro,  the  double  line  of  bayonets  glanced, 
advancing,  retreating,  while  I  listened  with  suspended  breath. 
The  fight  on  the  mountain  was  to  decide  our  fate.  Below  the 
artillerists  were  at  work.  The  great  guns  pointed  upward. 
Shells  screamed  and  hissed,  tearing  the  green  woods,  poisoning 
the  pure  ether  with  sulphurous  smoke.  Ambulances  began  to 
wind  down  the  steep  mountain  road  with  their  freight  of  wounded. 
Many  of  these  brave  soldiers  were  so  shattered  that  they  could 


264  MARY  CLEMMER. 

only  be  carried  on  blankets,  and  the  sad  procession  was  swelled 
by  the  bodies  of  two  of  our  artillerists,  shattered  to  death  at  their 
guns.  ...  It  was  just  noon  when  the  musketry  firing  ceased. 
Tents  were  struck.  Cannon  were  spiked  and  sent  tumbling 
down  the  mountain  gorge.  Bayonets  flashed  out  from  the  woods. 
Long  columns  of  men  began  moving  down  the  mountain  defile. 
O,  saddest,  most  disgraceful  sight  of  all,  the  flag  which  waved 
from  that  mountain-top,  our  signal  of  freedom  and  hope,  they  tore 
it  down.  "  The  Heights  are  surrendered  ! "  From  the  ranks 
came  one  curse,  long  and  deep :  "  If  we  had  not  had  a  traitor  for 
a  leader  we  should  not  have  surrendered." 

It  dawned,  that  memorable  Sabbath  morning,  September  14, 
1862,  in  superlative  splendor.  Through  that  long  azure-gold 
morning  —  a  morning  so  absolutely  perfect  in  the  blending  of  its 
elements,  in  its  fusion  of  fragrance,  light,  and  color,  that  it  can 
never  die  out  of  my  consciousness,  I  sat  at  the  window  making 
bandages ;  sunshine,  balm,  and  ether  suffused  the  august  mountains, 
and  the  blue  ether  which  ensphered  us.  All  were  unheeded  while 
we  awaited  the  terrors  of  the  day. 

In  the  spring  of  1866  Mary  Clemmer  wrote  from  Wash- 
ington her  first  letter  to  the  "Independent."  From  that  date 
to  the  present  few  weeks  have  passed  during  the  congressional 
sessions  that  she  has  not  contributed  to  that  journal.  "A 
Woman's  Letter  from  Washington"  was  significant  of  refined 
culture,  of  bright  and  keen  perception,  of  an  insight  into  the 
nobler  motives  of  life.  It  was  strong  in  political  character- 
ization, and  was  apt  to  photograph  pretty  clearly  politicians, 
parties,  and  principles  for  the  delectation  of  the  reading 
public.  In  brief,  these  letters  treated  topics  of  thought 
rather  than  the  mere  surfaces  of  things. 

The  feeling  with  which  Mrs.  Clemmer  looked  on  all  this 
Vanity  Fair  is  indicated  in  the  following  extract  from  one  of 
her  letters  in  the  "  Independent "  :  — 

"  This  letter  is  only  a  good-morning  and  a  good-evening, 
dear  friends  —  a  salutation  on  the  threshold  of  winter,  as  we 
meet  once  more  with  all  the  summer  between  us  and  our  last 
good-by.  The  world  I  have  left  and  the  world  I  meet  do  not 


SCENES  AT  THE  BATTLE  OF  MARYLAND  HEIGHTS. — THE  RETREAT. 


MARY  CLEMMER.  265 

easily  coalesce.  The  strength  begotten  of  mountain  heights  ; 
the  peace  of  stormless  lakes ;  the  pervasive  fragrance  of  the 
autumnal  woods  ;  the  music  of  a  tiny  leaf  stirring  in  the  blue 
air ;  the  rustle  of  a  squirrel  scampering  through  the  crisp 
ferns  with  his  winter  nuts  ;  the  lowing  of  the  little  black  cow, 
bossed  like  jet  against  the  twilight  sky,  coining  home  across  the 
russet  flat  —  all  these  sights  and  sounds  of  a  pastoral  sphere 
have  come  with  me  hither.  Their  music  is  in  my  ears  and 
their  love  is  in  my  heart,  as  I  confront  this  other  world, 
which  is  no  relation  of  mine  —  the  world  of  rush,  and  hurry, 
and  of  roaring  streets ;  the  world  of  vanity  and  show ;  of 
policy,  treachery,  and  place ;  of  shallow  insights ;  of  harsh 
rnisjudgment  and  broken  faith.  This  is  not  my  world.  I 
confess  to  a  reluctant  hand  that  lifts  a  pen  to  tell  of  its  doings. 
I  am  in  it  but  not  of  it." 

The  years  that  Mrs.  Clemmer  has  passed  at  the  national 
capital  have  been  to  her  varied,  eventful,  rich  in  experiences. 
She  went  to  Washington  in  her  early  youth,  with  all  her 
latent  capabilities  untried  and  unproved. 

Her  first  sustained  work  there  comprised  seven  newspaper 
letters  each  week.  She  passed  long  mornings  in  the  ladies' 
gallery  of  the  Senate  or  of  the  Hall  of  Representatives. 
Nothing  about  her,  not  even  a  scrap  of  a  note-book  or  pencil, 
indicated  the  professional  listener.  The  letters  being  of  an 
editorial  rather  than  of  a  reportorial  nature,  did  not  require  her 
to  appear  in  the  outward  role  of  a  correspondent.  Returning 
to  her  rooms,  she  sent  the  long  letters  and  telegraphic  matter 
by  a  messenger  who  came  for  them.  In  the  evening  she  held 
herself  free  to  receive  friends,  or  for  social  engagements.  In 
her  parlors  might  have  been  found  the  most  eminent  men  of 
the  day. 

The  esteem  in  which  Mrs.  Clemmer's  work  was  held  is 
indicated  in  two  impromptu  notes  written  in  the  Senate 
Chamber  by  Charles  Sumner.  One  of  these  bears  no  date 
save  that  of  the  day  of  the  week.  Written  at  his  desk  and 
handed  by  a  page  to  Mrs.  Clemmer  in  the  ladies'  gallery,  it 
runs : — 


2G6  MARY  CLEMMEB. 

"  I  am  glad  to  see  you  again,  even  at  a  distance.  I  wish  I  could 
tempt  you  to  my  house,  where  you  will  find  some  literary  curi- 
osities. Sincerely  yours,  CHARLES  SUMNER." 

A  pleasant  word  of  greeting  this  was  to  the  young  woman 
who  had  that  day  returned  to  her  post  from  a  brief  sojourn 
in  New  York.  Another  note  from  Mr.  Sumner  runs  as  fol- 
lows :  — 

"SENATE  CHAMBER,  22d  March,  1871. 

"  I  have  always  thought  of  you  with  honor  and  with  a  con- 
stant desire  to  know  personally  one  who  does  so  much  by  her 
pen  for  ideas  which  I  have  much  at  heart.  I  hope  that  you 
will  pardon  me  if  I  say  that  we  are  co-workers  in  the  same  field. 
I  am  so  little  abroad  that  we  have  not  met,  but  I  trust  that  it  may 
not  be  so  always. 

"  Sincerely  yours,  CHARLES  SUMKER." 

That  trust  was  fulfilled,  and  for  the  years  following  this 
date  to  that  of  his  death  the  honored  Massachusetts  Senator 
and  Mrs.  Clemmer  were  warm  personal  friends.  Perhaps 
no  man  was  ever  more  truly  apprehended  or  more  fairly 
interpreted  than  was  Mr.  Sumner  by  Mrs.  Clemmer.  Of 
him  in  one  of  her  "  Independent "  letters  she  says  :  "  A  man 
solitary  by  the  primal  law  of  his  nature,  preoccupied,  ab- 
sorbed, aristocratic  in  instinct,  though  a  leveller  in  ideas, 
never  a  demagogue,  never  a  politician,  —  he  is  the  born  master 
and  expounder  of  fundamental  principles." 

Under  date  of  March  5,  1871,  Mrs.  Clemmer  wrote  to  the 
"  Independent "  concerning  Lincoln  and  the  Eepublican  party 
as  follows  :  — 

"  It  has  been  said  that  when  God  wants  a  great  man  he 
makes  one.  I  wish  that  he  would  make  the  great  man  for 
the  Republican  party.  In  Lincoln  He  gave  the  man  for  the 
time.  The  occasion  came,  and  ten  thousand  sprang  equal  to 
the  occasion.  Repressed  men,  half-developed  men,  who  else 
had  never  risen  to  the  full  stature  of  manhood,  in  the  ex- 
tremity of  battle  towered  heroic  as  the  gods.  They  did  their 
work  and  vanished.  With  a  few  exceptions,  the  grandest 
men  of  our  generation  have  already  perished  in  their  prime. 


MARY  CLEMMER.  267 

Every  epoch  thrusts  forth  its  demand.  Where  now  is  the 
man  for  the  hour  ?  The  leader  of  a  great  party  should  have 
not  only  the  intellect  to  be  the  highest  expounder  of  its 
principles,  but  also  embody  that  in  his  own  manhood  which 
arouses  and  holds  the  enthusiasm  of  the  masses  for  the 
principles  which  he  maintains. 

"  While  he  lived  nobody  suspected  Mr.  Lincoln  of  being  a 
great  man.  We  did  not  even  know  how  we  loved  him  till  he 
died,  and  crape  floated  from  every  door.  Where  now  in 
high  place  can  we  find  a  man  so  simply  grand?  Where  one 
who  could  be  trusted  to  use  limitless  power  as  he  did,  solely 
to  attain  the  ends  of  justice  and  mercy,  without  thought  of 
himself  ?  f  If  I  am  God's  instrument,  He  will  never  forsake 
the  thing  that  he  uses,  but  it  must  accomplish  His  purpose,' 
I  once  heard  him  say,  in  the  heyday  of  his  power,  with  a 
humility  and  sadness  never  to  be  forgotten.  What  -is  great- 
ness? It  is  not  intellect  alone.  It  is  not  moral  and  emo- 
tional quality  only.  It  is  character  compounded  of  both.  It 
is  wisdom,  it  is  high  thought,  it  is  wide  vision.  It  is  magna- 
nimity, it  is  mercy,  it  is  love,  it  is  gentleness  and  child- 
heartedness,  it  is  forgiveness,  it  is  supremacy  over  all 
littleness.  I  believe  in  my  race.  I  believe  in  man.  I  pray 
God  to  raise  up  such  a  chief  to  save  the  Republican  party  to 
the  land  which  owes  it  so  much." 

The  decade  between  1870  to  1880  were  years  in  which 
Mary  Clernmer  achieved  a  great  amount  of  creative  work. 
Journalistic  correspondence,  novels,  poems,  the  lives  of  Phoebe 
and  Alice  Gary,  tr  Ten  Y*irs  in  Washington,"  all  followed  in 
quick  succession.  This  work,  which  in  its  quantity  and  quality 
was  enough  in  itself  to  absorb  the  entire  time  and  energies  of 
its  author,  was  really  the  achievement  of  a  crowded  life,  — 
of  a  woman  sought  and  caressed  by  society ;  who  was  con- 
stantly partaking  of,  and  contributing  to,  the  gay  world's 
elegancies  and  ceremonies. 

In  October,  1872,  Mrs.  Clemmer  completed  the  biography 
of  the  Gary  sisters,  a  work  which  long  intimacy  and  residence 
17 


268  MARY  CLEMMER. 

in  their  home  had  peculiarly  fitted  her  to  undertake.  One 
must  always  feel  in  reading  Mrs.  Clemmer's  memorial  of 
these  poet-sisters  that  Providence  prepared  the  work  in 
advance  for  her,  and,  in  the  meantime,  prepared  her  for  the 
work.  It  is  in  this  book  that  Mrs.  Clemmer  pays  a  beautiful 
tribute  to  Alice  Gary,  as  the  one  friend  of  her  life,  in  these 
words :  — 

"For  her  sake  let  me  say  what,  as  a  woman,  she  could  be 
and  was  to  another.  She  found  me  with  habits  of  thought 
and  of  action  unformed,  and  with  nearly  all  the  life  of  woman- 
hood before  me.  She  taught  me  self-help,  courage,  and 
faith.  She  showed  me  how  I  might  help  others  and  help 
myself.  Wherever  I  went  I  carried  with  me  her  love  as  a 
treasure  and  a  staff.  How  many  times  I  leaned  upon  it  and 
grew  strong.  It  never  fell  from  me.  It  never  failed  me. 
No  matter  how  life  might  serve  me,  I  believed  without  a 
doubt  that  her  friendship  would  never  fail  me,  and  it  never 
did.  Yet,  saying  this,  I  have  not  said,  and  have  no  power 
to  say  what,  as  a  soul,  I  owe  to  her." 

In  this  biography,  and  especially  in  depicting  the  life  and 
character  of  Alice  Gary,  to  whom  she  was  strongly  drawn  by 
that  mysterious  spiritual  affinity  which  defies  for  us  all  analy- 
sis, Mary  Clemmer  did  some  of  her  most  perfect  literary  work. 

Of  Alice  Gary  she  wrote :  "  The  intellectual  life  of 
neither  man  nor  woman  can  be  justly  judged  without  a 
knowledge  of  the  conditions  which  impelled  that  life  and  gave 
to  it  shape  and  substance.  Alice  Gary  felt  within  her  soul 
the  divine  impulse  of  genius,  but  hers  wras  essentially  a 
feminine  soul,  shy,  loving,  full  of  longings  for  home,  over- 
burdened with  tenderness,  capable  of  an  unselfish,  lifelong 
devotion  to  one.  Whatever  her  mental  or  spiritual  gifts,  no 
mere  ambition  could  ever  have  borne  such  a  woman  out 
into  the  world  to  seek  and  to  make  her  fortune  alone. 
Had  Alice  Gary  married  the  man  whom  she  then  loved 
she  would  never  have  come  to  New  York  at  all,  to  coin  the 
rare  gifts  of  her  brain  and  soul  into  money  for  shelter  and 
bread." 


MARY   CLEMMER.  269 

The  beginning  of  the  friendship  with  Alice  Gary,  years 
before  they  met  face  to  face,  is  thus  exquisitely  told  by  Mrs. 
Clemmer :  — 

"  Years  ago,  in  an  old  academy  in  Massachusetts,  its  pre- 
ceptor gave  to  a  young  girl  a  poem  to  learn  for  a  Wednesday 
exercise.  It  began, — 

4  Of  all  the  beautiful  pictures 

That  hang  on  Memory's  wall, 
Is  one  of  a  dim  old  forest, 
That  seemeth  best  of  all.' 

"After  the  girl  had  recited  the  poem  to  her  teacher,  he  told 
her  that  Edgar  Poe  had  said,  and  that  he  himself  concurred  in 
the  opinion,  that  in  rhythm  it  was  one  of  the  most  perfect 
lyrics  in  the  English  language.  He  then  proceeded  to  tell 
the  story  of  the  one  who  wrote  it  —  of  her  life  in  her  Western 
home,  of  the  fact  that  she  and  her  sister  Phoebe  had  come  to 
New  York  to  seek  their  fortune,  and  to  make  a  place  for 
themselves  in  literature.  It  fell  like  a  tale  of  romance  on 
the  girl's  heart ;  and  from  that  hour  she  saved  every  utterance 
that  she  could  find  of  Alice  Gary's,  and  spent  much  time 
thinking  about  her,  till  in  a  dim  way  she  came  to  seem  like  a 
much-loved  friend." 

Of  the  spiritual  experiences  of  Alice  Gary  she  recorded  :  — 
"The  life  of  one  woman  who  has  conquered  her  own  spirit, 
who,  alone  and  unassisted,  through  the  mastery  of  her  own 
will,  has  wrought  out  from  the  hardest  and  most  adverse 
conditions  a  pure,  sweet,  and  noble  life,  placed  herself  among 
the  world's  workers,  made  her  heart  and  thought  felt  in  ten 
thousand  unknown  homes  —  the  life  of  one  such  woman  is 
worth  more  to  all  living  women,  proves  more  for  the  possi- 
bilities of  womanhood,  for  its  final  and  finest  advancement, 
its  ultimate  recognition  and  highest  success,  than  ten  thou- 
sand theories  or  eloquent  orations  on  the  theme.  Such  a 
woman  was  Alice  Gary.  Mentally  and  spiritually  she  was 
especially  endowed  with  the  rarest  gifts  ;  but  no  less  the  low- 
liest of  all  her  sisters  may  take  on  new  faith  and  courage 
from  her  life." 


270  MAKY  CLEMMER. 

Mary  Clemmer's  literary  work  is  not  only  widely  compre- 
hensive and  sound  in  thought,  but  it  has  a  peculiarly  sympa- 
thetic quality  which  gives  it  an  enduring  hold  upon  the  hearts 
of  the  people.  It  is  work  especially  characterized  by  insight 
—  by  the  spiritual  sight  which  sees  beyond.  Sympathy  is 
the  polarized  light  of  the  mind  which  reveals  the  hidden 
chambers,  the  secret  architecture  of  human  life.  It  is  the 
supreme  endowment  of  the  poet,  and  it  is  the  predominant 
poetic  temperament  of  Mrs.  Clemmer  that  gives  her  writings 
a  vitality  which  is  felt  rather  than  described.  This  element 
of  her  work  finds,  perhaps,  more  forcible  illustration  in  the 
memorial  of  the  lives  of  Alice  and  Phoebe  Gary,  in  her  poems 
and  in  her  journalistic  work,  than  in  her  novels.  There  are 
logical  reasons  for  this.  Mrs.  Clemmer  has  by  nature  much 
of  the  creative  force  that  is  purely  artistic.  The  work  done 
by  this  type  of  organization  demands  not  so  much  repose  as 
freedom ;  not  so  much  time  as  it  does  the  consciousness  of 
time. 

In  journalistic  work  Mrs.  Clemmer  is  spontaneous,  and 
infuses  into  it  much  of  that  freedom  of  utterance  which  forms 
the  magnetism  of  private  letters.  She  does  not  fill  out  a 
stilted  mechanical  framework,  but  fearlessly  writes  out  her- 
self her  clear  views  and  vivid  impressions  ;  and,  as  a  journal- 
istic letter  is  not  of  a  lengthened  structure,  she  gives  the 
ideal  type  of  a  newspaper  letter. 

Her  poems  are  an  utterance.  They  express,  to  all  who 
feel  their  subtle  interpretation,  the  intensity  of  the  inner  life 
of  this  woman-artist,  an  inner  flame  that  burns  not  for  this 
world.  You  feel  how  it  is  that  she  "  hears  the  songs  of 
heaven  afar."  It  is  the  sound  of  the  living  waters  to  one 
who  cannot  drink ;  the  far-falling  echo  that  her  ear  catches 
amid  the  din  and  strife  of  the  market-place,  which  these 
poems  voice  and  repeat  again  in  their  own  music ;  and  to 
their  exquisite  quality  we  would  add  nothing,  take  away 
nothing.  They  stand  as  the  indices  to  a  life,  and  their  un- 
dercurrents of  meaning  are  to  him  who  holds  the  key  to  their 
sacred  harmony.  They  draw  their  inspiration  from  the  hid- 


MARY  CLEMMEE.  271 

den  wells  of  being,  from  a  woman's  deepest  experiences,  — 
love,  life,  and  death. 

The  logical  reason,  which,  in  a  critical  estimate  of  Mrs. 
Clemmer's  varied  work,  may  be  applied  to  the  fact  that  her 
novels  have  not,  as  yet,  ever  exhibited  her  full  power,  lies 
in  the  very  nature  of  the  work  itself.  A  novel  is  not  written 
in  an  hour,  a  day,  a  week.  It  requires  complete  surrender. 
It  does  not  demand  an  application  that  is  utterly  unremitting, 
but  its  characters  must  take  possession  of  the  mind  in  such  a 
manner  as  to  develop  naturally.  This  class  of  artistic  work 
cannot  be  forced  into  a  hothouse  growth, — indeed,  what 
true  work  of  the  artist  can  be  ?  It  is  easily  seen  how  in  Mrs. 
Clemmer's  crowded  life,  —  that  of  a  woman  in  society  ;  who 
entertains  largely  in  her  own  elegant  home ;  who  holds  a 
leading  place  on  the  editorial  staff  of  a  weekly  paper  of  New 
York  city  ;  who  averaged  for  years  seven  journalistic  letters 
per  week, — letters  accurate  in  facts,  fine  in  philosophical 
generalization,  and  vigorous  in  thought :  from  this  data  it 
will  be  readily  seen  how  incongruous  the  writing  of  novels 
must  be  to  such  a  life.  "Any  work,  the  presentation  of 
which  should  fill  the  whole  soul,  cannot  be  undertaken  in  ex- 
traneous moments  snatched  from  other  duties,"  says  Goethe. 

These  remarks  are  not  intended  as  any  apology  for  Mrs. 
Clemmer's  fiction.  It  needs  none.  It  stands  fair  among  that 
of  this  age.  It  is  only  in  comparing  the  actual  work  with  her 
own  ideal  in  romance,  and  that  marvellous  latent  power  of 
Mrs.  Clemmer's  nature  which  has  never  yet  adequately 
expressed  itself,  that  a  discrepancy  is  suggested.  "His 
Two  Wives,"  which  appeared  first  as  a  serial  in  the  Boston 
publication,  "  Every  Saturday,"  is  a  work  of  unusual  power. 

In  regard  to  this  novel  the  only  marvel  is  that  it  could 
have  been  written  at  all.  The  request  had  been  urged 
upon  Mrs.  Clemmer  to  contribute  a  serial  story  to  "  Every 
Saturday."  Declining  at  first,  from  what  seemed  the 
negation  of  overfilled  time,  she  was  led  to  consider  the 
project,  to  which  all  her  natural  creative  power  responded. 
She  undertook  the  work,  giving  to  it  simply  the  Friday 


272  MARY  CLEMMER. 

afternoon  of  each  week,  sending  the  chapters  just  as  they 
flowed  from  her  pen ;  and  when  the  story  was  published 
in  book-form  it  was  made  up,  simply,  from  the  pages  of 
"  Every  Saturday,"  without  revision  from  the  author.  The 
story,  which  is  unique  in  treatment,  and  which  sets  itself  like 
a  series  of  pictures  in  the  memory,  is  rendered  a  remarkable 
production  when  the  circumstances  under  which  it  was  writ- 
ten are  considered. 

Some  of  the  finest  work  of  Mary  Clemmer  has  been  in 
monographs  on  characters  with  whom  she  was  strongly  in 
sympathy.  Among  these  were  papers  on  Charles  Sumner, 
Margaret  Fuller,  George  Eliot,  Emerson,  and  on  Longfellow. 

As  a  poet  Mary  Clemmer  has  touched  chords  to  which  the 
response  has  been  peculiarly  sympathetic.  In  this  phase  of 
creative  work  she  has  made  herself  the  interpreter  of  two 
distinct  forces,  the  life  of  nature  and  the  emotions  of  the 
human  heart.  Her  utterances  are  strongly  subjective,  yet 
much  of  it  is  from  the  material  of  imagination,  and  sympathetic 
rather  than  of  real  or  of  personal  experience.  A  forcible 
instance  of  this  is  in  the  poem  entitled  "  The  Dead  Love," 
which  upon  its  appearance  in  her  volume  of  "  Poems  of 
Life  and  Nature,"  was  greeted  by  those  discerning  per- 
sons, the  critics,  as  "written  from  the  depths  of  her  own 
experience,"  whereas  it  was  really  written  when  she  was  a 
young  girl,  with  no  experience  of  love,  living  or  dead,  and 
was  a  sympathetic  response  to  a  girl-friend  whose  painful 
experience  she  thus  interpreted.  In  the  "Good-by,  Sweet- 
heart," Mrs.  Clemmer  touches  her  highest  lyric  force.  In 
her  "Arbutus"  we  see  the  oneness  of  her  soul  with  nature, 
a  harmony  that  is  again  interpreted  in  the  two  sonnets  entitled 
w  The  Cathedral  Pines,"  written  one  summer  day  at  Intervale, 
New  Hampshire. 

The  deeply  religious  nature  of  Mary  Clemmer  is  revealed 
in  every  line  she  has  ever  written.  The  life  of  her  mother 
from  early  childhood  has  been  full  of  religious  enthusiasm. 
In  joy  or  in  sorrow  she  seeks  in  silence  and  in  solitude 
communion  with  the  Divine  Spirit.  In  the  work  of  the 


MARY  CLEMMER.  273 

distinguished  daughter  this  religious  meditation,  this  uninter- 
mitting  spiritual  aspiration,  is  embodied  and  wrought  into 
practical  application  to  men  and  things,  and  to  the  minutest 
duties  of  human  life. 

Mary  Clemmer  has  ennobled  journalism  by  her  profound 
conviction  of  its  moral  significance.  Measuring  her  work  by 
an  ideal  standard,  she  has  always  written  up  and  not  down 
to  the  mentality  of  the  hour.  The  action  and  reaction  of 
human  life  in  its  special  phases  in  national  statesmanship  has 
been  subtly  analyzed  and  ably  revealed  by  her.  In  the 
world,  though  not  of  it,  the  poetry  of  her  nature  has  saved 
her  from  the  allurements  of  fashionable  frivolities.  Her 
work,  be  it  poetry  or  politics,  has  always  in  it  the  inspira- 
tional element.  She  has  the  divining  instinct  of  the  poetic 
temperament,  the  kindling  of  its  fervor,  the  vividness  of  its 
imagery. 

Mrs.  Clemmer's  home  on  Capitol  Hill,  in  Washington,  is  a 
large,  hospitable  brick  mansion,  book-lined  and  picture-hung  ; 
with  its  souvenirs  of  friendship  from  names  honored  among 
men,  its  dainty  elegance,  its  sweetness  of  repose.  It  is  cos- 
mopolitan in  its  atmosphere.  It  could  not  be  otherwise  when 
presided  over  by  this  fair,  blue-eyed  poet  woman,  whose 
sympathies  and  interests  radiate  like  a  star  to  all  points  of 
individual  and  national  interests.  Years  ago  Mrs.  Clem- 
mer purchased  this  house,  and  with  her  parents  entered 
it  to  make  a  home.  In  this  household  the  father  and  the 
mother  were  the  honored  guests,  the  treasured  counsellors, 
the  beloved  ones  to  whose  comfort  and  happiness,  first  of  all, 
the  household  arrangements  were  subservient.  In  the  winter 
of  1881  the  aged  father  passed  away,  cheered  to  the  last  by 
the  unfailing  tenderness  of  his  daughter.  The  mother  still 
graces  and  brightens  this  home  with  her  gentle  presence,  that 
falls  as  a  benediction  on  the  stranger  or  the  guest. 

Into  this  home  come  the  tributes  of  respect  and  of  love. 
Through  the  discipline  of  waiting,  through  rich  and  varied 
experiences,  Mrs.  Clemmer  is  garnering  material  and  forces 
for  her  future  literary  work. 


9  74  MARY  CLEMMER. 

While  Mrs.  Clemmer  has  never  been  an  active  advocate  in 
special  reforms,  she  has  been  a  potent  force  in  general  advance- 
ment. By  nature  and  temperament  she  is  distinctively  the 
artist,  the  writer,  and  she  has  not  the  aggressive  inclination  to 
tilt  a  lance  on  all  occasions,  yet  when  the  occasion  appeals  to 
her  moral  power  she  has  the  full  courage  of  her  convictions. 
Those  who  are  leading  the  cause  of  the  political  enfranchise- 
ment of  women ;  those  who  are  consecrating  their  lives  to 
temperance,  to  philanthropy,  find  in  Mary  Clemmer  not  alone 
the  sympathizer  and  the  helper,  but  the  inspirer.  Women  go 
to  her  home  as  on  a  pilgrimage  to  seek  the  sweetness  and 
light  that  never  fails  them  there.  Many  an  "Independent" 
letter  has  been  sacrificed ;  many  an  artistic  expression  has 
been  left  unwrought,  to  meet  the  claims  of  humanity.  To 
Mary  Clemmer,  truly,  the  life  is  more  than  meat ;  the  need 
of  one  humble  human  heart  is  more  to  her  than  the  fame  or 
applause  of  the  world. 

The  story  of  a  life  !  Who  may  presume  to  tell  it?  And 
who,  while  that  life  is  a  part  of  the  present  forces  of 
humanity,  may  dare  reveal  its  deepest  meanings,  its  romance, 
its  invisible  yet  potent  dreams  ?  Let  those  who  would  fore- 
cast the  horoscope  of  Mary  Clemmer  read,  in  her  "Poems  of 
Life  and  Nature,"  three  sonnets:  "Recognition,"  "The 
Friend,"  "  The  Lover."  If  the  reader  will  he  may  read  a 
story  between  the  lines. 

Little  dreamed  this  young  girl  of  the  great  world  on 
whose  threshold  she  stood  when  she  crossed  that  un- 
seen line  of  fate  and  went  to  New  York.  The  reader 
of  her  novel  "  Eirene "  may  fancy  that  something  of  her 
own  experience  is  reflected  in  this  paragraph  regarding  her 
heroine :  — 

"  She  had  reached  that  crisis  in  life  when  a  woman  of  oppo- 
site nature,  disappointed  and  wounded  in  her  affections,  turns 
toward  the  prizes  of  intellect  and  ambition,  and  sallies  forth 
into  the  great  world  in  search  of  a  crown.  It  never  occurred 
to  this  girl  that  such  a  thing  was  possible  to  her.  Of  the  rich 
endowments  of  her  mind  as  personal  possessions  she  had  no 


MARY   CLEMMEK.  275 

consciousness,  much  less  that  it  might  be  possible  for  her  to 
use  them  to  build  up  a  splendid  fate  for  herself  in  the  world. 
The  realm  of  letters,  the  realm  of  art  she  knew  were  both  in 
this  vast  world  into  which  she  was  going ;  both  in  a  dim  and 
distant  way  had  a  charm  for  her ;  she  had  read  of  and  wor- 
shipped the  queens  of  women  who  had  reigned  therein.  How 
remote  and  inaccessible  seemed  these  realms.  .  »  .  She  did 
not  think  at  all  that  this  enchanted  world,  in  which  the  beau- 
tiful, the  gifted,  and  the  prosperous  dwell,  could  be  for  her." 


CHAPTER  XII. 
MAEY    MAPES    DODGE. 

BY  LUCIA  GILBERT  RUNKLE. 

New  York  Society  Forty  Years  Ago  —  Prof.  James  J.  Mapes  —  An  Ideal 
Home  — Genuine  Hospitality  — Mary  Mapes  Dodge  — Her  Two  Boys  — 
What  First  Turned  Her  Attention  to  Writing  —  First  Workshop  — A 
Cosy  "  Den  "  —  Birthday  Feasts  for  Jamie  and  Harry  — A  Birthday  Poem 
—  Red-Letter  Days— How  "Hans  Brinker,  or  the  Silver  Skates,"  came  to 
be  Written  — Merited  Reward  — Mrs.  Dodge's  Remarkable  Editorial  Capa- 
city — Her  Clear  Insight  and  Sound  Judgment  —  Editing  "  St.  Nicholas  "  — 
A  Model  Magazine  for  Children  —  Who  and  What  Makes  it  So— The 
Care  and  Labor  Bestowed  upon  Each  Number  — Mrs.  Dodge's  Home  Life 
and  Happy  Surroundings. 

ORTY  years  ago,  or  so,  New  York  still  kept  some- 
thing of  her  earlier  simplicity  of  manners.  Her 
best  society  had  passed  the  toil  of  poverty, 
without  yet  having  entered  upon  the  toil  of 
wealth.  The  great  fortunes  of  to-day  were  un- 
dreamed of,  as  the  ostentation  which  vaunts 
them  was  unknown.  Hospitality  was  not  ex- 
pressed in  monumental  dinners  and  balls,  but 
in  more  intimate  visiting.  Strangers,  bringing  let- 
ters of  introduction  to  well-known  citizens,  were 
invited  to  their  houses  in  a  friendly  way,  and  contributed 
whatever  brightness  they  possessed  to  the  general  household 
pleasure,  as  they  received  the  best  which  the  household  could 
bestow. 

Ceremony  is  a  necessary  defence  in  large  communities,  and 
the  great  city  long  since  outgrew  this  period  of  grace.  But 
it  was  the  good  fortune  of  the  subject  of  this  sketch  to  be 
born  into  one  of  the  most  hospitable  homes  upon  the  island, 
at  a  time  when  hospitality  meant  much.  Professor  James  J. 
276 


MAKY  MAPES  DODGE.  277 

Mapes  was  not  only  a  scholar  of  distinction,  an  eminent 
scientist,  and  an  inventor  of  note,  but  a  man  of  wide  social 
accomplishments,  a  brilliant  talker,  and  famous  wit.  His 
wife,  accustomed  in  her  father's  house  to  entertain  a  wide 
circle,  was  a  graceful  and  gracious  hostess,  unconsciously  an- 
ticipating Emerson's  precept :  "  Certainly,  let  the  board  be 
spread,  and  let  the  bed  be  dressed,  but  let  not  the  emphasis 
of  hospitality  lie  in  these  things." 

In  this  household  the  children  heard  high  affairs  discussed 
in  a  high  way.  Men  of  science,  poets,  painters,  musicians, 
statesmen,  philosophers,  journalists,  were  familiar  friends. 
The  talk  was  of  scientific  achievements,  of  music,  painting, 
and  the  drama ;  of  great  philanthropic  and  benevolent  move- 
ments all  over  the  world ;  of  contemporary  history,  as  the 
news  of  the  morning  journal  recorded  it ;  of  projected  laws 
and  the  reasons  for  them.  The  petty  gossip  and  small  per- 
sonalities which,  in  so  many  families,  do  duty  as  conversation 
never  intruded  their  impertinent  heads. 

It  was  a  great  thing  for  bright  children  thus  to  have  the 
round  world  rolled  daily  to  their  door.  And  this  liberal  edu- 
cation was  balanced  by  a  rigorous  training  in  those  disciplin- 
ary studies  which  teach  the  mind  exactness. 

It  was  a  theory  of  Professor  Mapes  —  a  theory  which  his 
distinguished  daughter  has  done  so  much  to  make  a  popular 
article  of  faith  —  that  children  instinctively  like  good  reading 
if  they  are  fortunate  enough  to  find  it.  And,  at  a  time  when 
juvenile  books  represented  a  waste  land  of  dreary  facts  and 
drearier  morals,  with  only  an  occasional  oasis  of  fancy  or 
freshness,  he  taught  his  own  flock  to  find  a  genuine  delight  in 
the  old  ballads,  in  Shakspeare,  and  in  Walter  Scott.  To 
her  thorough  knowledge  of  English  literature,  and  her  love 
of  it,  Mrs.  Dodge  owes  the  excellence  of  her  style  ;  and  this 
love  and  knowledge  she  owes  to  the  influence  of  her  father. 
Of  the  four  daughters  of  the  house,  the  eldest  and  youngest 
showed  remarkable  musical  ability,  and  became  accomplished 
musicians.  The  third  had  a  talent  for  painting,  studying 
diligently  at  home  and  abroad,  and  choosing  the  artist's  pro- 


278  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

fession.  The  second,  Mary,  was  one  of  those  fortunate  mor- 
tals from  whose  christening  feast  no  ill-tempered  fairy  stayed 
away  to  give  her  a  plague  for  a  dowry.  She  had  an  aptitude 
for  music,  drawing,  and  modelling,  a  quick  ear  and  tongue 
for  languages,  a  clear  and  critical  judgment,  great  executive 
capacity,  and  an  indomitable  cheerfulness  and  serenity  of 
spirit,  which  made  any  labor  or  success  seem  possible  to  her. 
But  in  her  girlhood,  before  she  had  decided  between  the 
claims  of  sculpture  and  painting,  another  voice  appealed  to 
her,  and  she  left  the  home  of  her  father  for  the  home  of  her 
husband. 

In  the  happy  years  which  followed,  the  claims  of  husband 
and  children,  of  domestic  affairs,  of  friends  and  society, 
absorbed  her  time.  But  the  constant  contact  with  an  excep- 
tionally able  mind  stimulated  her  own  mind  to  steady  growth, 
while  the  new  household,  like  the  old,  welcomed  the  best 
people  and  the  best  thought.  From  this  house  might  have 
been  drawn  that  famous  picture  of  the  ideal  home  which 
"  should  bear  witness  to  all  its  economy  that  human  culture  is 
the  end  to  which  it  is  built  and  garnished.  It  stands  there 
under  the  sun  and  moon  to  ends  analogous  and  not  less  noble 
than  theirs.  It  is  not  for  festivity,  it  is  not  for  sleep ;  but 
the  pine  and  the  oak  shall  gladly  descend  from  the  moun- 
tains to  uphold  the  roof  of  men  as  faithful  and  necessary  as 
themselves ;  to  be  the  shelter  always  open  to  the  good  and 
the  true  ;  a  hall  which  shines  with  sincerity,  brows  ever  tran- 
quil, and  a  demeanor  impossible  to  disconcert ;  whose  in- 
mates know  what  they  want ;  who  do  not  ask  your  house  how 
theirs  should  be  kept ;  who  have  aims  ;  who  cannot  stop  for 
trifles." 

Almost  without  warning  this  beautiful  home  was  closed  by 
the  sudden  death  of  its  master,  and  Mrs.  Dodge,  with  her 
two  young  children,  returned  to  the  house  of  her  father,  then 
living  in  New  Jersey.  To  take  up  her  life  again  in  the  old 
spirit  of  rejoicing ;  to  rear  and  educate  her  boys  as  their 
father  would  have  done  ;  to  do  a  man's  work  with  the  persist- 
ent  application  and  faithfulness  of  a  man,  to  gain  a  man's 


MARY    MAPES    DODGE. 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  281 

pay,  yet  to  leave  herself  freedom  and  freshness  to  enter  into 
all  her  children's  interests  and  pursuits  as  their  comrade  and 
friend,  was  the  duty  she  saw  before  her.  It  was  almost  an 
accident  which  first  turned  her  attention  to  writing.  But 
having  decided  that  writing  must  be  her  work,  it  became 
necessary  to  contrive  a  workshop. 

In  the  country,  as  in  the  city,  the  hospitality  of  Professor 
Mapes  was  boundless.  Vacant  chairs  stood  at  the  table  for 
the  chance  comer,  and  the  friendly  host  was  disappointed  if 
they  remained  vacant.  Time  had  brought  money  losses,  and 
the  household  economy  was  of  the  simplest.  But  such 
cordiality  of  spirit  was  there,  in  that  rambling  old  house, 
such  bright  discourse,  such  refinement  of  atmosphere,  such 
beauty  of  surroundings,  as  made  luxury  seem  vulgar. 

Professor  Mapes  himself  was  the  prince  of  good  talkers. 
His  mother,  a  charming  old  lady,  in  her  day  one  of  the 
charming  young  girls  who  could  remember  having  been 
saluted  by  the  adored  Washington,  who  had  danced  with  the 
courtly  Lafayette  at  the  famous  Castle  Garden  fete  tendered 
him  by  the  citizens  of  New  York,  and  who,  on  occasion, 
would  graciously  exhibit  the  tiny  slippers  and  stupendous 
headdress  which  had  adorned  the  ball,  — held  a  little  court 
of  her  own,  under  her  son's  roof,  received  her  visitors  with  a 
certain  state  and  ceremony,  and  delighted  her  great-grand- 
sons with  stories  of  that  historic  past  which  seemed  to  them 
an  age  of  gods  and  heroes.  Their  young  mother  and  her 
sisters  had  their  troops  of  friends,  the  children  their  compan- 
ions. Sunshine,  music,  flowers,  the  heartiest  good-fellowship 
filled  the  house.  No  atmosphere  could  be  more  delightful  to 
live  in.  In  none  could  hard  work  have  been  more  difficult. 

A  stone's  throw  from  the  dwelling  stood  a  deserted  farm- 
house, its  low-pitched  attic  tenanted  only  by  spiders,  and 
heaped  with  that  debris  of  human  occupation  which  long 
housekeeping  consigns  to  the  living  tomb  of  garret  spaces. 
Of  this  dusty  solitude  Mrs.  Dodge  took  possession.  The 
boys  knocked  down  a  partition  wall,  turning  two  mean  cham- 
bers into  one  generous  one,  cleared  away  the  rubbish,  made  a 


282  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

treaty  of  peace  with  the  banished  spiders,  which  secured  to 
them  the  undisputed  possession  of  an  adjoining  territory,  re- 
stored a  hinge  here,  put  up  a  shelf  there,  and  lo  !  the  coveted 
study  was  ready  for  the  decorator  and  furnisher.  By  what 
magic  a  few  pieces  of  cast-off  furniture  were  made  to  assume  an 
air  of  special  utility  and  youthfulness,  by  what  abracadabra 
the  odds  and  ends  of  ornament  which  nobody  claimed  for  the 
house  were  forced  to  set  themselves  in  harmony  for  the 
adornment  of  "  the  den  ;  "  by  what  spell  this  ill-proportioned, 
dingy  loft  became  the  quaintest  and  brightest  of  habitations, 
at  once  spacious  and  cosy,  must  remain  an  incommunicable 
secret.  Certain  women  are  born  with  the  gift  of  decoration 
in  their  finger-tips.  Draperies  fall  into  perfect  folds  at  their 
touch.  Colors  and  shapes  are  obedient  to  a  look.  Not  even 
the  white  waste  of  ceilings,  or  the  aggressive  angularity 
of  corners,  refuses  to  become  part  of  the  charming  whole. 
But  most  domestic  artists  of  this  order  need  beautiful  material 
to  work  with.  It  is  only  genius  which  creates  elements  as 
well  as  results. 

A  few  yards  of  Florida  moss,  a  few  bunches  of  bright 
leaves,  a  few  cheap  pictures,  a  small  company  of  high-bred 
books,  a  drift  of  softly-brilliant  drapery  falling  across  an 
ancient  lounge,  a  cheerful  old  patriarch  of  a  Franklin  stove, 
and  everywhere  flowers,  and  flowers,  and  again  flowers  — 
these  were  all  the  visible  agencies  at  work  to  produce  an 
harmonious  completeness.  Nobody  ever  remembered  that 
the  carpet  was  made  of  rags.  Nobody  ever  noticed  the  lack 
of  curtains  at  windows  which  the  climbing  ivy  hung  with 
softest  green.  Nobody  ever  thought  that  rough-cast  was  an 
objectionable  wall-finish.  And  if  ""  the  ornament  of  a  house 
is  the  friends  who  frequent  it "  that  eyrie  under  the  roof  was 
ornamented  indeed.  For  thither  came  many  a  choice  spirit, 
and  often  and  often  the  old  beams  heard  "  talk,  far  above 


singing/ 


Here,  too,  were  celebrated  those  little  birthday  feasts  which 
the  boys  considered  the  red-letter  days  of  their  calendar. 
The  festivities  began  only  when  the  day's  work  was  ended ; 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  283 

for  the  youngsters,  their  lessons ;  for  their  mother,  her  task 
of  writing.  Manuscript  and  thoughts  of  manuscript  being 
pushed  aside,  she  covered  the  writing-table  with  a  white 
cloth  festooned  with  greenery  from  the  woods,  set  forth  the 
two  or  three  oranges,  the  little  dish  of  nuts,  the  simple  birth- 
day cake,  with  its  tiny  candles  sparkling  the  measure  of  the 
young  life's  counted  years,  and  then  only,  most  often  while 
the  eager  lads  were  clamoring  for  admission,  found  time  to 
write  the  birthday  verses  which  they  thought  best  of  all  the 
feast.  When  the  door  was  opened  they  rushed  first  upon 
their  mother,  and  then  upon  the  table,  to  find  such  a  remem- 
brance as  this :  — 

ANOTHER   YEAR. 

Old  man,  with  the  hour-glass,  halt !  halt !  I  pray  — 
Don't  you  see  you  are  taking  my  children  away? 
My  own  little  babies,  who  came  long  ago, 
You  stole  them,  old  man,  with  the  beard  white  as  snow ! 

My  beautiful  babies,  so  bonny  and  bright ! 
Where  have  you  carried  them,  far  out  of  sight  ? 
Oh,  dimpled  their  cheeks  were,  and  sunny  their  hair ! 
But  I  cannot  find  them  :  I've  searched  everywhere. 

My  three-year-old  toddlers,  they  shouted  in  glee ; 
They  sported  about  me ;  they  sat  on  my  knee. 
Oh,  their  prattle  and  laughter  were  silvery  rain ! 
Old  man,  must  I  list  for  their  voices  in  vain  ? 

They  were  here ;  they  were  gone,  while  their  kisses  were  warm, 
I  scarce  knew  the  hour  when  they  slipped  from  my  arm  — 
Oh,  where  was  I  looking,  when,  peerless  and  sweet, 
They  followed  the  track  of  your  echoless  feet  ? 

My  brave  little  schoolboys,  who  ran  in  and  out, 
And  lifted  the  air  with  their  song  and  their  shout : 
My  boys  on  the  coldest  days  ever  aglow, 
My  dear  romping  schoolboys  who  tortured  me  so ! 

There  were  two  of  them  then  ;  and  one  of  the  two  — 
Ah !  I  never  was  watchful  enough  —  followed  you. 
My  chubby-faced  darling,  my  kite-flying  pet  — 
Alack !  all  his  playthings  are  lying  here  yet. 


284  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

And  the  other,  O  Time !  do  not  take  him  away  ! 
For  a  few  precious  years,  I  implore,  let  him  stay ! 
I  love  him  —  I  need  him  —  my  blessing  and  joy ! 
You  have  had  all  the  rest ;  leave  me  one  little  boy ! 

He  halts !  He  will  stop !  No  ;  the  fall  of  the  sand 
In  the  hour-glass  deceived  me.     It  seemed  at  a  stand. 
But  whom  have  we  here?  Jamie!  Harry!  how?  why, 
Just  as  many  as  ever  —  and  Time  passing  by  ? 

Jamie,  my  bouncer,  my  man-boy,  my  pride ! 
Harry,  my  sunbeam,  whatever  betide  — 
I  can  hardly  believe  it.     But  surely  it's  clear 
My  babies,  my  toddlers,  my  schoolboys  are  here ! 

Move  on  then,  O  Time !  I  have  nothing  to  say ! 
You  have  left  me  far  more  than  you've  taken  away, 
And  yet  I  would  whisper  a  word,  ere  you  go  ; 
You've  a  year  of  my  Harry's  —  the  latest,  you  know. 

How  does  it  rank  among  those  that  are  flown  ? 
Was  it  worthily  used,  while  he  called  it  his  own  ? 
God  filled  it  with  happiness,  comfort,  and  health  — 
Did  my  darling  spend  rightly  its  love-given  wealth  ? 

No  answer  in  words.     Yet  it  really  did  seem 

That  the  sand  sparkled  lightly  —  the  scythe  sent  a  gleam. 

Is  it  answer  and  promise  ?    God  grant  it  be  so, 

From  that  silent  old  man  with  his  beard  white  as  snow. 

To  have  a  "visit  with  mother"  was  to  the  boys  the  highest 
conceivable  enjoyment.  It  was  for  the  happy  talk,  the  cheery 
plans  touching  the  year  to  come,  the  intimate  sympathy  and 
friendship  of  these  celebrations,  and  not  for  any  presents 
they  might  bring,  that  they  were  joyfully  anticipated  for  one 
twelvemonth,  and  joyfully  remembered  for  another.  The 
presents,  indeed,  were  few  and  cheap,  for,  from  their  baby- 
hood, the  boys  had  been  taught  that  the  value  of  a  gift  lay  in 
the  spirit  which  offered  it,  that  the  "how  "  and  not  the  "what " 
made  life  rich,  and  that  their  pleasure  must  be  found  in  the 
simple  things  of  existence. 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  285 

Mrs.  Dodge  had  already  proved  herself  a  clever  essayist 
and  capital  story-teller  for  grown-up  readers  when  she  pub- 
lished her  first  book,  a  collection  of  short  tales  for  children, 
under  the  name  of  "Irvington  Stories."  It  was  a  modest 
little  muslin-covered  duodecimo,  with  three  or  four  illustra- 
tions by  Darley ;  a  book  quite  out  of  print  now,  but  dear  to 
the  heart  of  many  a  young  man  and  woman  who  were  chil- 
dren eighteen  years  ago.  So  successful  was  it  as  not  only 
to  pass  through  several  editions,  and  receive  the  warmest 
encomiums  of  the  press,  but  to  elicit  praise  from  the  "North 
American  Review,"  at  that  time  the  "  big  bow-wow  "  of  our 
literature,  which  saw  that  the  stories  had  just  enough  of  im- 
probability to  suit  the  minds  of  children,  for  whom  the  age 
of  fancy  and  fable  renews  itself  in  every  generation.  "They 
are  not  sermons  in  words  of  two  syllables,"  said  Rhadaman- 
thus,  "they  are  not  prosy,  but  what  is  gracious  and  lovely  in 
childhood  is  appealed  to  indirectly,  with  something  of  moth- 
erly tenderness  in  the  tone.  Good  books  for  children  are  so 
rare,  and  books  to  make  little  spoonies  so  common,  that  this 
should  be  praised." 

The  publisher  begged  for  a  second  series  of  "Irvington 
Stories."  Mrs.  Dodge,  meantime,  had  begun  another  story, 
as  a  short  serial,  to  run  through  several  numbers  of  the  juve- 
nile department  of  a  weekly  religious  paper. 

Like  the  rest  of  the  reading  world,  she  had  been  thrilled 
and  fascinated  by  the  lately-published  histories  of  Motley, 
the  "Rise  of  the  Dutch  Republic,"  and  the  "History  of  the 
United  Netherlands."  She  resolved  to  make  Holland  the 
scene  of  a  juvenile  tale,  and  give  the  youngsters  so  much  of 
the  history  of  that  wonderful  country  as  should  tell  itself, 
naturally,  through  the  evolution  of  the  story.  The  subject 
fascinated  her,  and  grew  upon  her  hands.  It  passed  the  lim- 
its which  the  weekly  paper  set,  and  developed  into  a  volume. 
The  publisher,  disappointed  at  not  receiving  a  second  collec- 
tion of  short  stories,  was  tempted  to  reject  the  manuscript 
offered  him.  But  the  author  had  nothing  else  ready,  he  could 
not  afford  to  forego  the  prestige  of  her  former  success,  and 
18 


286  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

so,  reluctantly  and  doubtfully,  he  issued  the  most  successful 
juvenile  tale  of  our  time,  "  Hans  Brinker ;  or,  The  Silver 
Skates."  No  tenderer,  sweeter,  loftier  story  was  ever  told. 
Boys'  hearts  beat  quicker  as  they  read  it,  with  the  thrill  and 
stir  of  action,  and  old  eyes  dimmed  with  tears  over  the  un- 
written pathos  of  the  humble  lives  it  recorded.  The  critics 
seemed  to  take  it  for  granted  that  a  new  book  by  the  author 
of  "Irvington  Stories"  would  be  worthy  of  its  parentage, 
and  praised  the  story  in  a  matter-of-course  way,  but  with  one 
accord  dwelt  on  the  perfection  of  the  local  coloring,  which, 
as  the  work  of  an  artist  who  had  never  seen  the  Low  Coun- 
tries, was  a  marvellous  achievement.  On  closing  the  book 
one  did  not  seem  to  have  been  reading  about  Holland,  but  to 
have  been  living  in  Holland  ;  nay,  to  have  been  born  and  bred 
there ;  and  to  have  grown  so  familiar  with  the  queer  customs 
of  that  queer  country  that  neither  customs  nor  country  any 
longer  seemed  queer. 

From  the  moment  of  its  publication,  sixteen  years  ago,  the 
success  of  ft  Hans  Brinker  "  was  instant  and  assured,  and  to- 
day it  is  one  of  the  books  of  steady  sale.  It  has  had  a  very 
large  circulation  in  America ;  has  passed  through  several 
editions  in  England ;  and  has  been  published  in  French,  at 
Paris  ;  in  German,  at  Leipsic  ;  in  Russian,  at  St.  Petersburg  ; 
and  in  Italian,  at  Rome.  A  version  in  French  under  the  title 
of  r  Patins  $  Argent"  was  awarded  one  of  the  Monthyon 
prizes,  of  fifteen  hundred  francs,  by  the  French  Academy. 
But  the  crowning  tribute  to  its  excellence  is  its  perennial  sale 
in  Holland  in  a  Dutch  edition,  which,  when  Mrs.  Dodge  was 
in  Amsterdam  a  few  years  ago,  was  recommended  to  one  of  her 
party  by  a  zealous  bookseller,  as  the  most  attractive  juvenile 
in  his  collection. 

This  success,  of  course,  was  no  lucky  hit,  but  the  merited 
reward  of  the  hardest  work.  Mrs.  Dodge  ransacked  libraries, 
public  and  private,  for  books  upon  Holland ;  made  every 
traveller  whom  she  knew  tell  her  his  tale  of  that  unique  coun- 
try ;  wrote  to  Dutch  acquaintances  in  Amsterdam  and  Haar- 
lem ;  and  submitted  every  chapter  to  the  test  of  the  criticism 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  287 

of  two  accomplished  Hollanders  living  near  her.  It  was  the 
genius  oT  patience  and  toil,  the  conscientious  touching  and 
retouching  of  the  true  artist,  which  wrought  the  seemingly 
spontaneous  and  simple  task. 

About  1870  Mrs.  Dodge  became  associate  editor  of  "Hearth 
and  Home,"  a  new  weekly  family  paper,  her  coadjutors  being 
Mrs.  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe,  and  Mr.  Donald  G.  Mitchell 
(Ik.  Marvel).  Her  departments  exhibited  a  fertility  of  ex- 
pedient, a  freshness  of  mind  and  resource,  an  inexhaustible 
spontaneity,  an  editorial  instinct  and  capacity,  which  won 
wide  recognition.  A  few  years  later,  when  Messrs.  Scribner 
and  Company  were  considering  the  publication  of  a  new  juve- 
nile magazine,  it  wras  to  her  that  they  turned  for  co-operation, 
and  upon  her  consent  to  assume  its  management  that  the  en- 
terprise was  established.  From  the  choice  of  its  title,  to  the 
superintendence  of  each  number,  "  St.  Nicholas  "  has  been  the 
personal  care  and  labor  of  nine  years. 

Never  before,  perhaps,  had  editor  so  appreciative,  gener- 
ous, and  helpful  publishers  ;  so  capable,  tireless,  and  interested 
assistants.  But  with  all  this  help,  the  original  work  which 
must  go  to  every  issue  of  such  a  publication  —  the  planning, 
inventing,  inspiring,  the  new  thought,  the  fresh  combination, 
the  motive  and  impulse  which  are  the  breath  of  its  life, — 
constitutes  in  itself  an  incessant  and  absorbing  labor.  The 
mere  balance  of  pages,  the  artistic  grouping  of  pictures  and 
text,  the  writing  of  verses  to  pictures,  the  sketching  in  the 
rough  of  pictures  to  illustrate  verses,  the  enormous  corre- 
spondence, the  endless  detail,  the  suggestion  here,  the  altera- 
tion there,  and,  more  than  all,  the  regular  recurring  of  the 
task,  as  fixedly  as  the  waxing  and  waning  of  the  moon,  de- 
mand an  unwearying  power  of  application  and  organization 
possible  only  to  an  exceptional  temperament. 

Besides,  in  the  nature  of  things,  the  editing  of  a  periodical 
for  children  is  far  more  difficult  than  the  editing  for  adults. 
Mature  minds,  however  they  may  differ  in  special  tastes  and 
individual  development,  have  at  least  their  maturity  in  com- 
mon. But  a  child's  magazine  must  address  the  intelligence 


288  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

of  five  years  as  genially  as  the  intelligence  of  fifteen,  and 
neither  five  nor  fifteen  must  be  sacrificed  the  one  to  the  other. 
Again,  though  the  constituency  of  the  "  Atlantic "  or  the 
"  Century"  widens,  as  young  people  grow  up  to  read  them,  it 
does  not  change  essentially.  Travels,  fiction,  essays,  biog- 
raphy, historical  sketches,  poetry,  please  the  readers  of  to- 
day as  they  pleased  the  readers  of  a  dozen  years  ago.  But 
the  ingenuity  that  delighted  the  children  who  hugged  "  St. 
Nicholas"  in  1874  must  vary  its  devices  in  1875,  or  be  found 
neither  ingenious  nor  delightful.  A  child's  contemptuous 
w  Oh,  that's  old,"  takes  the  flavor  out  of  a  story  or  puzzle  for  a 
whole  family  of  children.  Every  year  the  new  fives  and  fif- 
teens demand  a  difference  not  only  m  degree,  but  in  kind. 
And  the  wonder  grows  that  every  year  they  find  it. 

But  it  is  not  the  aim  of  publishers  and  editor  to  create  merely 
the  most  beautiful  and  entertaining  book  for  youth  which  it  was 
possible  to  create.  They  saw  that  in  that  very  interest  in, 
and  study  of,  children  which  makes  this  the  Children's  Age,  a 
subtle  danger  lurked.  It  was,  as  has  been  said,  as  if  a  newly- 
discovered  specimen,  known  as  TJie  Child,  were  put  under 
the  object-glass  of  the  scientific  observer,  studied,  classified, 
and  minutely  explained.  This  observation  would  be  wise 
were  it  not  that  the  specimen  too  often  becomes  in  turn  the 
observer.  That  is  to  say,  the  modern  interest  in  children 
has  produced  a  special  literature,  whose  tendency  is  to  make 
them  self-conscious,  morbid,  priggish,  and  more  or  less  openly 
disobedient. 

It  is  a  question  whether  the  simple  virtues  which  make 
childhood  lovely  did  not  flourish  better  in  the  bleak  atmos- 
phere which  old-fashioned  notions  of  parental  dignity  and 
distance  produced,  than  in  the  hothouse  air  which  pervades 
the  representative  juvenile  publication.  For  this  quality  of 
unwholesomeness  belongs  to  many  books  which  are  pure, 
well- written ,  and  interesting.  And  it  is  this  quality  which 
Mrs.  Dodge  has  succeeded  in  excluding  from  ff  St.  Nicholas." 
She  believed  that  their  literature  should  stimulate  and  quicken 
children  intellectually,  but  discourage  emotional  precocity. 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  289 

And  the  innumerable  letters  which  reach  the  editor  reveal  the 
fact  that  the  children  who  love  the  magazine  most,  and  best 
apprehend  its  spirit,  are  simple,  natural,  real  children,  whose 
interests  are  external  to  themselves,  and  to  whom  it  has  not 
occurred  to  wonder  whether  their  exceptional  nature  is  under- 
stood and  appreciated  by  those  beings  of  a  commoner  fibre  — 
their  parents  and  teachers. 

ff  The  magazine,"  wrote  Gail  Hamilton  to  a  friend,  in  her 
delightfully  hearty  way,  "  is  the  very  best  children's  magazine 
that  was  ever  read,  or  seen,  or  dreamed  of.  The  pictures 
and  the  nonsense  verses  are  captivating.  I  suppose  I  read 
that  rocking-horse  poem  over  to  Jamie  Elaine  thirty-five 
thousand  times  without  stopping  —  yielding  to  his  imploring 
eyes  and  wheedling  voice."  "  While  its  freshness  lasts,"  de- 
clared another  well-known  author,  "  the  bound  volume  drives 
away  all  other  books  from  the  table ;  and  somehow  its  fresh- 
ness seems  to  have  spells  of  recurrence.  Every  rainy  day 
puts  new  charms  in  it,  and  acts  as  a  sprinkle  or  a  soak  upon 
a  resurrection  flower.  The  youngsters  are  not  quite  sure  if 
the}'  like  the  pictures  on  the  inside  of  the  cover.  They're 
sure  they  like  them,  to  be  sure; — but  don't  quite  like  the 
cheeky  way  in  which  the  binder  and  Mother  Goose  set  them- 
selves out  in  this  way  in  opposition  to  the  dainties  of  Mrs. 
Dodge  —  in  the  inside."  "  It  has  been  made  level  with  the 
comprehension  of  children,"  wrote  Mr.  Charles  Dudley  War- 
ner to  the  publishers,  "  and  yet  it  is  a  continual  educator  of 
their  taste  and  of  their  honor  and  courage.  I  do  not  see  how 
it  can  be  made  any  better,  and  if  the  children  don't  like  it  I 
think  it  is  time,  to  begin  to  change  the  kind  of  children  in 
this  country  !  "  And  this  is  really  what  the  editor  has  been 
quietly  laboring  at  for  the  last  nine  years. 

As  if  the  shaping  and  doing  of  work  like  this  were  not 
enough  for  one  mortal,  Mrs.  Dodge  has  published  three  books 
since  she  has  had  charge  of  "  St.  Nicholas,"  and  written  a 
fourth,  a  serial  story  for  the  magazine,  which,  though  already 
printed  in  book-form  in  England,  is  not  to  be  placed  in  cov- 
ers in  America  for  another  year.  The  first  of  these  publica- 


290  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

tions  was  the  famous  "  Rhymes  and  Jingles,"  a  book  of  verses 
for  children,  as  spontaneous  and  irrepressible  as  the  lyrics  of 
Mother  Goose,  with  a  frolicsome  humor,  a  subtle  wit,  a  deli- 
cate innuendo,  a  love  of  nature  in  them,  which  that  singer  of 
an  elder  day  never  dreamed  of.  Their  inconsequence  is  not 
more  delicious  than  their  sense,  their  fun  no  more  captivating 
than  their  moral.  They  seem  to  have  come  by  nature,  as 
morning-glories  blossom  in  a  score  of  tints,  or  as  mocking- 

o  o  o 

birds  sing  every  note  known  to  melody,  and  to  have  given 
Mrs.  Dodge  no  trouble  beyond  that  of  collecting  them. 

The  success  of  "  Rhymes  and  Jingles  "  was  as  great  as  that 
of  "Hans  Brinker"  had  been.  Critics  praised  their  art,  their 
originality,  their  cleverness ;  children  delighted  in  them  with 
no  afterthought  of  "  why ; "  mothers  found  them  an  aid  to 
nursery  government,  after  the  heart  of  Miss  Martineau  her- 
self. A  year  or  two  later  came  a  little  volume  of  prose 
sketches  for  adults,  entitled  "  Theophilus  and  Others,"  and 
containing,  among  other  bright  papers,  the  famous  "Miss 
Maloney  on  the  Chinese  Question,"  whose  cleverness  even  its 
enormous  popularity  has  not  availed  to  cheapen,  and  that 
unique  bit  of  satire,  "The  Insanity  of  Cain."  This  collection 
showed  how  high  a  reputation  Mrs.  Dodge  might  have  won 
as  an  essayist  and  story-writer  had  she  not  chosen  to  devote 
herself  to  other  labors.  The  papers  showed  originality,  ver- 
satility, clarity  of  thought  and  a  richness  of  humor,  unique, 
perhaps,  in  a  woman's  work. 

The  volume  of  prose  was  followed  in  1879  by  a  small  vol- 
ume of  verse  called  "  Along  the  Way."  It  was  truly  "  a 
charming  way  that  she  has  rambled  along,  for  she  has  not 
only  picked  bright  and  tender  things  that  were  growing  at  her 
feet,  but  she  has  shaken  them  down  from  the  trees,  caught 
them  in  her  hat  as  they  flew  about  her,  and  gently  captured 
them  as  they  fluttered  in  her  hand.  It  is  a  happy  thing  for  those 
of  us  who  do  not  walk  such  ways  to  have  her  show  us  what 
may  there  be  seen."  These  words  of  a  brother  poet  touch 
the  keynote  of  this  poet's  song.  Her  verses  are  full  of 
naturalness,  feeling,  imagination  ;  they  sing  as  the  birds  sing, 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  291 

but,  more  than  all,  they  have  that  loftiness  of  spirit,  that 
serenity  of  the  upper  air,  which  is  the  poet's  sweetest  and 
rarest  gift.  Among  them  are  none  of  those  lachrymose 
"Doubts,"  "Despairs,"  "Last  Requests,"  "Resignations," 
"Misunderstandings,"  which  wail  through  most  feminine 
verse.  By  contrast,  they  justify  her  own  witty  saying,  that 
Pegasus  generally  feels  impelled  to  pace  toward  a  graveyard 
the  moment  he  feels  a  side-saddle  on  his  back. 

Her  sympathy  with  nature  is  a  sixth  sense,  as  her  inter- 
pretation of  nature  is  a  new  voice.  "Shadow-Evidence"  and 
"  Once  Before  "  are  poems  for  poets  ;  "  Inverted  "  gets  itself 
remembered,  as  it  was  written,  "by  heart";  "Old  Songs," 
>^Secrets,"  "  My  Window  Ivy,"  have  floated  on  newspaper 
wings  into  remotest  solitudes.  In  a  little  lyric  called  "Heart 
Oracles  "  is  written  that  philosophy  of  life  which  makes  its 
singers  own  days  seem  so  uplifted :  — 

"]J§r  the  motes  do  we  know  where  the  sunbeam  is  slanting; 

Through  the  hindering  stones  speaks  the  soul  of  the  brook ; 
Past  the  rustle  of  leaves  we  press  into  the  stillness  ; 

Through  darkness  and  void  to  the  Pleiads  we  look ; 
One  bird-note  at  dawn,  with  the  night  silence  o'er  us, 
Begins  all  the  morning's  munificent  chorus. 

"Through  sorrow  come  glimpses  of  infinite  gladness  ; 

Through  grand  discontent  mounts  the  spirit  of  youth ; 
Loneliness  foldeth  a  wonderful  loving ; 

The  breakers  of  doubt  lead  the  great  tide  of  truth; 
And  dread  and  grief-haunted  the  shadowy  portal 
That  shuts  from  our  vision  the  splendor  immortal." 

But  the  one  poem  which  touches  the  deepest  human  ex- 
perience, which  breathes  comfort  in  the  bitterest  human 
anguish,  is  — 

THE    TWO    MYSTERIES. 

"  We  know  not  what  it  is,  dear,  this  sleep  so  deep  and  still, 
The  folded  hands,  the  awful  calm,  the  cheek  so  pale  and  chill ; 
The  lids  that  will  not  lift  again,  though  we  may  call  and  call ; 
The  strange,  white  solitude  of  peace  that  settles  over  all. 


292  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

"We  know  not  what  it  means,  dear,  this  desolate  heart-pain  ; 
This  dread  to  take  our  daily  way,  and  walk  in  it  again; 
We  know  not  to  what  other  sphere  the  loved  who  leave  us  go, 
Nor  why  we're  left  to  wander  still ;  nor  why  we  do  not  know. 

"  But  this  we  know  ;  our  loved  and  dead,  if  they  should  come  this 

day  — 
Should  come  and  ask  us,  "  what  is  life  ? "  not  one  of  us  could 

say. 

Life  is  a  mystery  as  deep  as  ever  death  can  be, 
Yet  oh,  how  sweet  it  is  to  us,  this  life  we  live  and  see ! 

"  Then  might  they  say,—  these  vanished  ones,  —  and  blessed  is  the 

thought ! 
*  So  death  is  sweet   to  us,  beloved,  though  we   may  tell  you 

naught ; 

We  may  not  tell  it  to  the  quick  —  this  mystery  of  death  — 
Ye  may  not  tell  us,  if  ye  would,  the  mystery  of  breath.' 

"  The  child  who  enters  life  comes  not  with  knowledge  or  intent, 
So  those  who  enter  death  must  go  as  little  children  sent. 
Nothing  is  known.     But  I  believe  that  God  is  overhead ; 
And  as  life  is  to  the  living,  so  death  is  to  the  dead." 

But,  after  all,  the  true  business  of  Mrs.  Dodge's  life,  the 
work  to  which  everything  else  was  subsidiary,  and  without  a 
knowledge  of  which  no  intelligent  estimate  of  her  powers 
could  be  made,  has  been  the  rearing  and  educating  of  her  two 
sons.  From  the  dawning  of  their  young  intelligence  they 
were  taught  to  regard  her  as  not  more  their  mother  than  their 
boon  companion,  helper,  and  friend.  She  flew  kites  with  them, 
skated  with  them,  swam  with  them,  passed  hours  in  their 
improvised  gymnasium,  set  up  many  a  "  form  "  at  printing- 
press,  tramped  miles  beside  them,  collecting  specimens  for 
microscope  or  herbarium.  Whatever  subject  interested  them 
she  studied  in  secret.  When  the  elder,  a  born  inventor, 
began  to  care  for  the  things  of  his  craft,  it  was  she  who  was 
ready  to  explain  to  him  the  crystallization  of  iron,  the  effects 
of  heat  and  cold,  the  laws  of  statics  and  dynamics.  When 
the  younger,  a  born  musician,  began  to  think  of  harmonies,  it 


MARY  MAPES  DODGE.  293 

was  she  who  seemed  to  him  to  know  more  of  the  science  and 
art  of  music  than  any  teacher. 

One  afternoon  of  every  week  belonged  exclusively  to  the 
boys,  whatever  claims  were  made  upon  her  time  by  work  or 
friendship.  If  it  became  inevitable  that  that  afternoon 
should  be  used  for  other  purposes,  she  appealed  to  their 
generosity  to  release  her,  which  they  did,  in  the  spirit  of 
young  princes.  But  she  always  made  up  to  them  that  con- 
cession, and  this  sense  of  justice  pervaded  all  her  dealings 
with  them.  She  recognized  their  rights  as  fully  as  she  desired 
them  to  recognize  the  rights  of  others.  She  kept  before  them 
the  highest  ideal  of  character,  and  left  details  of  conduct  to 
their  instructed  moral  sense. 

It  was  the  result  of  her  system  that  through  school-life  and 
college-life,  and  the  life  of  young  manhood  in  the  world,  she 
remained  the  most  intimate  friend  and  adviser  of  her  sons, 
who  grew  to  be  what  her  love  and  wisdom  had  foretold.  The 
elder  has  created,  in  his  own  home,  an  atmosphere  like  that 
in  which  he  was  bred.  The  younger,  in  the  flush  of  his 
beautiful  and  round  youth,  full  of  capacity,  enthusiasm,  and 
purpose,  of  noble  character  and  rare  intelligence,  passed  on 
into  the  life  which  completes  this. 

Dean  Swift  records  it  as  the  opinion  of  his  day  that  it 
would  not  be  wise  to  give  women  more  than  a  rudimentary 
education,  because  mental  development  would  awaken  in 
them  an  interest  in  things  outside  the  domestic  circle,  and 
render  them  indifferent  to  household  concerns.  But  the 
feminine  nature,  with  its  love  of  home,  its  instinct  of  beauty, 
and  its  innate  desire  to  minister  to  the  comfort  of  its  beloved, 
seems  conspicuously  independent  of  institutions,  and  in- 
capable of  radical  change,  even  through  the  insidious  influence 
of  the  alphabet.  The  women  who  have  done  the  best  work 
in  literature,  and  whose  culture  and  interest  in  affairs  are 
broadest,  are,  as  a  rule,  not  only  the  women  whose  domestic 
duties  have  been  exacting,  but  who  have  most  ably  and  con- 
scientiously discharged  them. 


294  MARY  MAPES  DODGE. 

Mrs.  Dodge  is  an  admirable  housekeeper,  having  that  last 
gift  of  the  good  manager,  the  capacity  to  keep  the  intricate 
wheels  of  the  domestic  machinery  smoothly  turning  without 
ever  seeming  to  touch  them.  But  she  is  much  more  than  a 
housekeeper,  she  is  a  home-maker;  two  offices  not  neces- 
sarily conjoined,  and  often  drearily  dissociated.  The  order 
and  neatness,  the  economy  and  routine  of  her  management, 
are  simply  the  foundation  on  which  the  beauty  and  serenity 
of  the  home  rest.  Her  rooms  seem  to  have  been  evolved 
from  her  individual  needs  and  tastes,  and  so  to  have  fulfilled 
that  lofty  rule,  that  "  the  genius  and  love  of  the  man  should 
be  so  conspicuously  seen  in  all  his  estate  that  the  eye  that 
knew  him  should  see  his  character  in  his  property,  in  his 
ornament,  in  his  every  expense,  for  a  man's  money  should 
not  follow  the  direction  of  his  neighbor's  money,  but  should 
represent  to  him  the  things  he  would  willingliest  do  with  it." 

In  this  home,  the  simplest  and  most  spontaneous  hospitality 
dwells.  Mrs.  Dodge  has  inherited  her  father's  brilliant 
talent  of  conversation,  and  no  writing  she  has  ever  done  gives 
so  strong  an  impression  of  her  thorough  mental  equipment, 
her  freshness  of  view,  clearness  of  insight,  sound  judgment, 
vivid  sympathy,  and  affluent  humor  as  an  hour's  talk.  Of 
those  qualities  which  are  above  and  beyond  all  these,  it  is  not 
permitted  even  to  speak.  But  they  cannot  be  concealed. 
"  Grandeur  of  character,"  says  Emerson,  "  works  in  the  dark, 
and  succors  those  who  never  saw  it." 


CHAPTER  XIII. 
MAKGAEET  FULLER. 

(MARCHIONESS  D'OSSOLI). 
BY  KATE  SANBORN. 

Conflicting  Opinions  —  An  English  Estimate  of  Margaret  Fuller  —  Her 
Childhood  and  School-life  —  Her  Life  as  Seen  by  Others  —  A  Peep  at  Her 
Journal  —  An  Encounter  with  Doctor  Channing  —  Emerson's  Opinion 
—  Wonderful  Power  as  a  Converser  — >Her  Great  Ambition  —  The  Influence 
She  Exerted  —  Horace  Greeley's  Friendship  —  Connection  with  the  "New 
York  Tribune"  —  "Alone  as  Usual" — Visits  Europe  —  Noted  Men  and 
Women  of  the  Time — Harriet  Martineau's  Opinion  —  The  Great  Change 
in  Miss  Fuller's  Life  —  Her  Romantic  Marriage  in  Italy  —  Terrible  Trials  — 
Homeward  Bound  —  Shipwrecked  on  the  Shores  of  Her  Native  Land  — 
Last  Scenes  in  Her  Life. 

NOTHER  sketch  of  this  remarkable  woman  is 
called  for,  and  the  various  comments  made  by 
friends  show  the  difficulty  of  the  task.  "She 
is  as  much  of  a  myth  as  Sappho,"  says  one ; 
and  another,  "  I  envy  you  your  subject ; "  a 
third  (a  man  who  liked  to  talk  himself) ,  "  She 
was  a  monstrous  thing,  —  don't  you  try  to  be 
like  her  !  "  And  a  fourth,  with  a  warning  shrug, 
"  Why  write  any  more  about  that  woman  ?  She 
has  been  done  to  death  !  She  was  a  brilliant  per- 
sonality in  her  day,  a  marvellous  talker ;  but  her  writings 
wont  live,  her  criticisms  were  often  crude  and  prejudiced, 
her  conceit  colossal,  absurd.  Take  a  newer  light ! "  Still 
another,  a  noble  woman,  whose  name  is  known  and  loved  all 
over  this  land,  writes :  "  I  want  you  to  make  Margaret 
Fuller  better  known  to  the  young  girls  of  our  country. 
There  should  be  a  volume  condensed  from  her  life  and 
writings  for  study  in  schools." 

295 


296  MARGARET  FULLER. 

Each  bit  of  advice  is  true  in  its  own  way,  and  one  may 
well  hesitate,  as  Emerson,  Channing,  and  Freeman  Clarke 
have  honored  her  by  a  memoir ;  such  women  as  Harriet 
Martineau,  Mrs.  Child,  Miss  Anna  C.  Brackett,  have  ex- 
pressed their  views  of  her  career,  and  her  influence ;  Lan- 
dor,  G.  P.  R.  James,  Christopher  Cranch,  Mary  Clemmer, 
and  others  wrote  poems  on  her  death ;  while  two  English 
writers,  Mrs.  Newton  Crosland,  and  William  Russell,  the 
curiosity-monger,  have  placed  her  in  their  collection  of  "  Ex- 
traordinary Women"  and  "Eccentric  Personages."  The 
latter,  determined  to  serve  up  a  piquant  sketch,  dwells  with 
delight  on  "her  nasal  tones,  the  quick  opening  and  shut- 
ting of  her  eyelids,  unpleasing  cast  of  features,  her  hectic 
nervousness  and  spectral  illusions,  her  superstitious  faith  in 
sortes,  talismans,  and  the  occult  power  of  gems,  her  somnam- 
bulism and  wild  Dervish-like  dances  in  school-days,  her  firm 
belief  in  the  mummeries  of  mesmerism,  her  pet  scheme  for  a 
female  congress  at  Washington,  to  be  presided  over  by  her- 
self, and  her  superior  manner  as  she  spoke  from  the  lofty 
stilts  of  a  self-conceit  unmatchable  in  this  used-up  Europe." 

But  one  more  friend  gives  exactly  the  sentiment  that  leads 
me  to  try  again  this  oft-told  tale.  "  I  personally  feel  indebted 
to  Margaret  Fuller,  because  she  has  done  so  much  to  help 
women,  and  make  their  position  easier,  and  has  stimulated 
them  to  more  independence." 

To  these  facts  hundreds  of  women  can  add  a  hearty  endorse- 
ment from  their  own  experience,  and  this  proves  that  she  has 
left  something  more  than  literary  criticism,  or  scholarship 
versatile  and  profound,  or  the  memory  of  her  power  in  mono- 
logue or  familiar  talk. 

Her  character  alternately  repels  and  charms,  but  her  story 
is  always  sad.  Struggles,  baffled  hopes,  unsatisfied  longings, 
heart-hunger,  solitude — these  were  her  lot;  the  sarcasm  of 
destiny  pursued  her  from  cradle  to  grave,  stern,  bitter, 
relentless.  Call  it  inexorable  Fate,  or  a  necessary  and 
blessed  discipline  —  it  was  destined  that  she  should  suffer. 
Some  baleful  star  might  be  supposed  to  have  darkened  her 


MARGARET  FULLER.  297 

horoscope.  In  her  words,  f'I  have  known  some  happy  hours, 
but  they  all  led  to  sorrow,  and  not  only  the  cups  of  wine  but 
of  milk  seemed  drugged  for  me."  And  in  her  rhapsodic 
letter  to  her  patron  saint  Beethoven  :  "  I  know  that  the  curse 
is  but  for  the  time.  I  know  what  the  eternal  justice  promises. 
But  on  this  one  sphere  it  is  sad.  Thou  didst  say  thou  hadst 
no  friend  but  thy  art.  But  that  one  is  enough.  I  have  no 
art  in  which  to  vent  the  swell  of  a  soul  as  deep  as  thine.  I 
am  lost  in  this  world." 

Yet  with  this  ever-present  conviction  of  limitation  and 
bondage  she  was  no  whining,  pining  misanthrope,  but  said 
grandly:  "Yet  will  I  try  to  keep  the  heart  with  diligence, 
nor  ever  fear  that  the  sun  is  gone  because  I  shiver  in  the  cold 
and  dark."  Oh,  it  was  hard,  and  hers  was  a  brave  fight ! 

An  Oriental  priestess  sent  by  some  mischance  into  a  prim 
Puritan  abode,  where  her  wild  fervor,  idealism,  imagination, 
passion,  were  curbed  by  an  iron  hand,  and  classics  and  ancient 
history  crammed  into  an  already  over-excited  brain.  A  sybil 
in  a  straight  jacket !  Was  it  a  wonder  that  she  raved  ?  Smiles 
or  sneers  follow  her  statement  that  she  was  a  queen.  But 
queen  she  proved  herself,  though  uncrowned ;  more  truly 
fitted  to  reign  than  many  a  woman  born  to  the  purple.  Her 
conceit  was  half  frankness,  and  conceit  seems  a  frequent  fault 
with  the  truly  great.  A  series  of  remarks  could  be  quoted 
from  distinguished  poets,  orators,  scientists,  inventors,  that 
would  send  our  heroine's  confidence  in  her  pre-eminent 
ability  far  into  the  shade.  Genius  and  self-assertion  are 
twins. 

Margaret  Fuller  proved  herself  a  teacher,  a  rare  talker,  a 
critic,  essayist  and  editor,  a  reformer,  pioneer,  philanthro- 
pist, almost  a  poet,  very  nearly  an  improvisatrice,  and,  best  of 
all,  a  loving,  true-hearted  woman,  who  never  neglected  home 
ties  or  homely  duties,  as  is  shown  by  her  brother's  tender 
tribute. 

A  commonplace  woman  has  her  compensations.  No  temp- 
tations for  her  to  wander  from  the  prescribed  path  !  No 
ecstacy  of  exaltation,  no  frenzy  of  despair !  No  wrestlings 


298  MARGARET  FULLER. 

fierce  and  vain  with  the  chains  of  hereditary  temperament 
and  circumstance.  If,  as  Swift  says,  "Censure  is  the  tax  a 
man  pays  for  being  eminent,"  comment  and  criticism  are  the 
tax  a  woman  pays  for  being  original.  The  forty  years  of 
Margaret's  life  were  one  long  struggle  with  pain,  disease, 
poverty,  surroundings,  pent-up  affection,  "tremendous  repres- 
sion," joy  ever  rimmed  with  torture. 

Many  people  seem  to  be  perpetually  rattling  round  in  a 
circle  that  is  too  big  for  them,  in  complete  ignorance  of  the 
fact  that  they  have  never  once  touched  the  boundary  line. 
But  Margaret  said  of  herself  ;  "I  have  no  natural  circle." 
And  her  path  in  life  was  cramped  and  thorny.  She  says : 
"  From  a  very  early  age  I  have  felt  that  I  was  not  born  to 
the  common  womanly  lot.  I  know  I  should  never  find  a 
being  who  could  keep  the  key  of  my  character ;  that  there 
would  be  none  on  whom  I  could  always  lean ;  from  whom  I 
could  always  learn ;  that  I  should  be  a  pilgrim,  a  sojourner 
on  earth,  and  that  the  birds  and  foxes  would  be  surer  of  a 
place  to  lay  the  head  than  I."  And  later :  "  We  are  born  to 
be  mutilated,  and  the  blood  must  flow  till  in  every  vein  its 
place  is  supplied  by  the  divine  ichor." 

Born  of  good  Puritan  stock  at  Cambridge,  Mass.,  May  23, 
1810,  she  had  "force  and  quality  "in  her  blood;  but  her 
childhood  was  unhappy  —  unnatural,  excited  ;  her  earliest  re- 
collection the  death  of  a  sister  who  mi^ht  have  been  a 

o 

companion ;  no  playmates ;  her  first  friendship  an  ideal- 
izing fondness  for  an  English  lady  who  exercized  a  pow- 
erful influence  over  her  life ;  instead  of  story-books,  she 
was  at  eight  years  absorbed  in  Shakespeare,  Cervantes, 
Moliere ;  her  recreation,  the  dear  old  garden,  the  only 
place  where  her  precocious  brain  could  rest,  and  where  the 
best  hours  of  her  lonely  life  were  spent.  With  the  flowers 
she  could  dream  and  be  happy.  Under  her  father's  guidance, 
and  led  also  by  her  own  tastes,  she  went  over  a  most  un- 
wholesome amount  of  reading  and  study,  crammed  and  over- 
stimulated.  And  this  is  her  wise  comment  as  she  reviewed 
this  period  :  "  Children  should  not  cull  the  fruits  of  reflection 


MARGARET  FULLER.  299 

and  observation  early,  but  expand  in  the  sun  and  let  thoughts 
come  to  them.  They  should  not  through  books  antedate 
theii  actual  experiences." 

Next,  we  see  her  in  school-life ;  eccentric,  intense,  lovable 
yet  disagreeable.  She  describes  this  in  the  story  of  "Mari- 
ana," never  sparing  herself.  A  lady,  who  was  a  schoolmate 
of  hers  in  Boston,  described  to  me  Margaret's  extraordinary 
appearance  and  manner,  as  with  head  on  one  side  and  an  air 
of  power  and  superiority,  she  swept  through  the  room  to  her 
desk.  And  as  she  acted  this  out  I  could  see  the  old  mag- 
netism lingered  yet.  "  We  all  put  down  our  books  and 
stared  at  her,  and  felt  she  was  a  genius." 

Then  as  a  girl  at  Cambridge ;  ardent,  passionate,  arrogant, 
drawing  around  her  a  rare  circle  of  intimate  friends,  demand- 
ing of  each  a  high  aim  and  their  entire  confidence ;  anxious 
to  help  each  to  do  the  very  best  of  which  he  was  capable. 
She  said  of  herself  that  she  was  at  nineteen  "  the  most  intol- 
erable girl  that  ever  took  a  seat  in  a  drawing-room,"  and  we 
presume  that  many  agreed  with  her.  Flat  contradiction  of 
her  seniors  was  her  natural  habit. 

There  is  a  tendenc}'  in  talking  of  such  a  phenomenal  and 
strongly-marked  character  to  either  exalt  or  depreciate ;  to 
fall  in  love,  or  unduly  dislike  ;  to  find  an  inspiration  or  a 
warning. 

I  take  two  of  her  own  sentences  as  my  guide  in  this 
matter.  She  says  :  — 

"  We  have  pointed  out  all  the  faults  we  could  find  in  Mrs. 
Browning,  feeling  that  her  strength  and  nobleness  deserves 
this  act  of  self-respect." 

And  her  remark  on  some  other  author :  — 

"  I  think  where  there  is  such  beauty  or  strength  we  can 
afford  to  be  silent  about  slight  defects." 

To  represent  this  modern  Hypatia,  this  Yankee  Corinne, 
this  feminine  Socrates,  and  nineteenth-century  Sybil,  as  a 
well-rounded  specimen  of  womanly  perfection,  would  be  a 
monstrous  mistake  and  a  lie  as  well.  One  writer  compares 
her  to  a  new  flower.  To  me  she  is  more  like  a  comet ;  bril- 


300  MARGARET  FULLER. 

liant,  fitful,,  irregular  in  orbit,  a  little  dangerous  if  brought 
too  near,  quite  mysterious  and  thoroughly  fascinating. 

To  people  in  general  Margaret  appeared  at  this  tin^e — 
from  sixteen  to  twenty-five — sarcastic,  supercilious,  with  a 
contemptuous  benevolence  for  mediocrity,  a  strong  inclination 
to  quiz,  and  an  overwhelming  and  ill-bred  appreciation  and 
expression  of  her  own  ability ;  "  prodigiously  learned  and 
prodigiously  disagreeable."  Some  one  who  knew  her  well 
said  that  she  always  found  herself  giving  up  the  inmost 
secrets  of  her  heart,  while  no  corresponding  confidence  was 
returned,  and  that  she  felt  after  such  an  interview  as  if  she 
had  been  examined,  classified,  and  set  one  side,  with  a  pin 
through  the  back,  as  another  bug  for  her  collection.  To 
others  she  was  sympathetic,  sincere,  helpful,  magnetic  — 
her  one  object  in  life  to  grow,  to  improve,  and  to  urge  others 
to  follow  her. 

Her  conversation  then  as  ever  was  her  forte.  Eev.  James 
Freeman  Clarke  explains  :  "  How  she  did  glorify  life  to  all ! 
All  that  was  tame  and  common  vanishing  away  in  the  pic- 
turesque light  thrown  on  the  most  familiar  things  by  her 
rapid  fancy,  her  brilliant  wit,  her  sharp  insight,  her  creative 
imagination,  by  the  inexhaustible  resources  of  her  knowledge, 
and  the  copious  rhetoric  which  found  words  and  images  apt 
and  always  ready." 

She  was  now  familiar  with  the  best  French,  Italian, 
and  Spanish  literature,  and  in  1832  took  up  the  study 
of  German,  able  in  three  months'  study  to  read  the  master- 
pieces in  that  language,  a  fact  that  illustrates  her  patience, 
persistence,  and  power. 

A  letter  just  received  from  Mrs.  Christopher  Cranch,  of 
Cambridge,  shows  how  she  was  loved  by  those  who  knew  her 
well. 

CAMBRIDGE,  MASS.,  February  20,  1883. 

You  have  asked  me  to  do,  what  would  honor  me  in  the 
doing,  were  I  able  to  accomplish  it  in  a  fitting  and  appropriate 
manner.  You  ask  me  to  write  to  you  of  one  of  the  rarest  of 
women,  whose  talents,  whose  virtues  are  revered  by  all  who 


MARGARET  FULLER.  301 

knew  her  well,  by  those  who  were  able  to  enjoy  her  friend- 
ship. Have  not  several  of  the  first  minds  our  country  can  claim 
written  in  her  praise,  —  and  how  much  more  durable  than  marble 
monument  will  be  those  words  secured  to  literature  in  the  vol- 
umes already  published  of  her  life.  Her  wit,  her  learning,  her 
subtle  sympathy  with  all  those  who  could  appreciate  her  qual- 
ities of  mind  and  heart,  were  cherished  by  a  choice  circle, 
though  it  also  included  the  simple  and  the  lowly  as  well  as  the 
great. 

She  had  no  personal  beauty.  Her  health  was  an  uncertain  de- 
pendence before  her  visit  to  Europe,  where  she  ripened  in  an 
Italian  atmosphere  to  a  degree  of  physical  strength,  and  a  happi- 
ness unknown  to  her  in  the  cold  New  England  climate  of  her 
birth  —  and  yet  with  no  personal  attractions,  with  a  voice  enfeebled 
by  delicate  health,  often  rendered  ill  by  the  excitement  of  a  too 
active  brain.  Yet  this  woman  drew  to  her  side  with  admiration  the 
young,  the  talented,  the  distinguished  —  what  was  the  charm?  — 
it  was  indescribable,  and  it  was  felt  by  so  many  who  sought  a 
strength  in  her  companionship ;  whose  influence  was  to  elevate,  to 
inspire  with  new  hope  and  courage  the  power  to  battle  with  the 
struggles  of  life  and  of  destiny.  Her  generosity  towards  those 
who  interested  her,  and  who  sought  her  aid,  if  measured  by  com- 
parison would  far  outweigh  the  richest  givers,  for  she  sometimes 
gave  her  all  —  as  in  one  instance  out  of  many  which  came  to  my 
knowledge,  where  she  devoted  to  an  unfortunate  Danish  poet  the 
sum  which  she  had  for  some  time  been  accumulating  by  intense 
study,  and  severe  brain  work,  to  accomplish  her  long-wished-for 
tour  in  Europe —  and  lost  the  whole  of  it  in  the  generous  action 
to  enable  him  to  publish  a  book,  which  was  a  total  failure,  in  New 
York. 

This  of  itself  should  be  one  of  the  greenest  of  laurels  that 
encircles  her  brow  —  and  I  would  quote  as  applicable  to  her  the 
lines  that  Elizabeth  Barrett  Browning  wrote  to  George  Sand, 
"  Thou  large-brained  woman,  and  large-hearted  man  ; "  for  indeed 
her  heart  was  as  large  as  her  intellect. 

I  remain,  dear  madam,  most  cordially  yours,  with  all  good 
wishes, 

ELIZABETH  DsWiNDT  CRANCH. 

Goethe  was  now  her  hero  ;  she  desired  to  write  his  life, 
and  make  him  better  known  to  the  American  public.     Her 
19 


302  MARGARET  FULLER. 

critique  on  Goethe  is  one  of  her  finest  efforts.  She  also 
translated  Eckerman's  "  Conversations  with  Goethe." 

We  have  thus  far  traced  her  life  as  seen  by  others ;  a  peep 
at  her  journal  gives  another  view.  Her  aspirations  often 
took  the  form  of  written  prayer.  "  Blessed  Father,  nip  every 
foolish  wish  in  blossom.  Lead  me  any  way  to  truth  and 
goodness.  O  lead  me,  my  Father  !  root  out  false  pride  and 
selfishness  from  my  heart ;  inspire  me  with  virtuous  energy, 
and  enable  me  to  improve  every  talent  for  the  eternal  good 
of  myself  and  others."  And  her  creed  at  that  time;  —  "I 
believe  in  eternal  progression.  I  believe  in  a  God,  a  beauty 
and  perfection,  to  which  I  am  to  strive  all  my  life  for  assimi- 
lation. From  these  two  articles  of  belief,  I  draw  the  rules 
by  which  I  strive  to  regulate  my  life." 

Her  father  removed  to  Groton,  Mass.,  from  Cambridge- 
port,  in  the  spring  of  1833,  a  matter  of  deep  regret  to  her. 
She  was  decidedly  unpopular  at  this  time  with  all  but  her  de- 
voted circle  of  intimates.  Her  formidable  wit,  keen  sense  of 
the  ludicrous,  indiscriminate  sarcasms,  pedantic,  high-flown 
talk,  and  extravagant  tendencies  in  thought  and  action,  were 
sufficient  cause.  Yet  how  little  the  world  knew  of  her  severity 
with  herself,  and  her  humility  before  God.  There  is  a  lesson 
just  here  for  all  of  us. 

In  the  summer  of  1835  Miss  Fuller  met  Harriet  Martineau, 
a  woman  fully  as  strong,  fully  as  individual  as  herself.  There 
was  at  first  great  enthusiasm  on  both  sides,  Margaret  hoping 
she  had  found  the  intellectual  guide  she  sighed  for,  and  Miss 
Martineau,  delighted  with  the  brilliancy  of  her  new  friend, 
insisted  that  Emerson  must  know  her.  But  of  course  they 
clashed  later  on,  and  the  account  of  the  acquaintance  from 
the  Englishwoman's  standpoint  is  funny  enough. 

Her  life  was  suddenly  changed  by  the  death  of  her  father,  in 
the  fall  of  1835.  The  family  were  left  quite  poor,  and  her 
long-cherished  plan  of  visiting  the  Old  World  must  be  given 
up.  And  see  how  bravely  she  took  her  trouble  :  "  The  new 
year  opens  upon  me  under  circumstances  inexpressibly  sad. 
I  must  make  the  last  great  sacrifice,  and  apparently  for  evil, 


MARGARET  FULLER.  303 

to  me  and  mine.  Life,  as  I  look  forward,  presents  a  scene 
of  struggle  and  privation  only.  Yet  I  bate  not  a  "jot  of 
heart,"  though  much  of  "hope."  My  difficulties  are  not  to 
be  compared  with  those  over  which  many  strong  souls  have 
triumphed.  Shall  I  then  despair?  If  I  do,  I  am  not  a  strong 
soul."  "Let  me  now  try  to  forget  myself,  and  act  for  others' 
sakes.  What  I  can  do  with  my  pen  I  know  not.  The 
expectations  so  many  have  been  led  to  cherish  by  my  conver- 
sational powers  I  am  disposed  to  deem  ill-founded.  I  do  not 
feel  in  my  bosom  that  confidence  necessary  to  sustain  me  in 
such  undertakings  —  the  confidence  of  genius." 

She  now  devoted  herself  to  the  homeliest  domestic  duties, 
reading  also  in  her  intense  way,  and  as  the  result  of  this  dis- 
cipline, her  "heart  was  awakened  to  sympathize  with  the 
ignorant,  to  pity  the  vulgar,  to  hope  for  the  seemingly  worth- 
less." 

In  the  autumn  of  1836  she  went  to  Boston  as  a  teacher, 
both  in  Mr.  Alcott's  school  and  for  classes  of  young  ladies. 
She  saw  Alcott  as  he  was ;  admired  his  many  good  qualities, 
but  felt  the  fallacy  of  his  dicta.  "  He  becomes  lost  in  ab- 
stractions, and  cannot  illustrate  his  principles." 

Through  the  kindness  of  Mr.  George  H.  Calvert,  of  New^ 
port,  Rhode  Island,  I  have  before  me  an  autograph  letter  of 
hers  written  to  Mrs.  Calvert  while  she  was  at  Providence. 
Mr.  Calvert  has  added  a  few  words  of  personal  reminis-v 
cence.  He  says  :  "I  wish  I  could  do  more  for  you  ;  but  my 
interviews  with  Miss  Fuller  were  brief  and  far  between. 
Our  relations  \vere  most  cordial,  and  though  of  so  large  a 
nature,  she  was  not  difficult  to  know,  for  her  soul  shone 
through  and  lighted  up  her  being  with  a  rare  illumination.  I 
first  met  her,  in  1837,  in  Newport,  where  she  was  invited  to 
spend  a  week  with  the  Channings.  I  drove  Miss  Fuller  out 
in  the  old-fashioned  chaise.  New  books  were  rare  in  those 
days,  and  Talfourd's  "Ion"  had  lately  been  republished  in 
Boston.  The  Doctor  spoke  of  it  as  a  dramatic  poem  of  merit. 
Miss  Fuller  quickly,  but  with  the  confidence  of  one  not 
unpractised  in  such  matters,  expressed  an  opposite  opinion, 


304  MARGARET  FULLER. 

saying  that  Talfourd  was  not  a  poet ;  and  it  seems  to  me  that 
she  was  right.  Dr.  Charming  was  better  versed  in  ethic  than 
aesthetic  principles,  and  had  probably  not  studied  poetry. 
This  little  encounter  was  conducted  with  well-stuffed,  silk- 
covered  gloves,  and  the  Doctor  seemed  to  defer  to  Miss  Fuller's 
judgment  on  such  subjects.  This  pleasant  passage  at  literary 
arms  was  characteristic  of  Margaret  Fuller,  who  was  sincere 
and  impulsive,  and  incapable  of  worldly  calculation." 

It  was  through  Miss  Martineau  that  Miss  Fuller  became  a 
friend  of  Emerson.  She  had  reported  enthusiastically  the  con- 
versation of  this  new  light,  and  introduced  them.  His  first  im- 
pression was  disagreeable,  as  with  most  persons.  He  says  :  — 
"  Her  manner  expressed  an  overweening  sense  of  power  and 
slight  esteem  of  others.  The  men  thought  she  carried  too 
many  guns,  and  the  women  did  not  like  one  who  despised 
them.  I  believe  I  fancied  her  too  much  interested  in  per- 
sonal history ;  and  her  talk  was  a  comedy  in  which  dramatic 
justice  was  done  to  every  one's  foibles.  I  remember  that  she 
made  me  laugh  more  than  I  liked,"  etc. 

But  her  sense  of  the  ridiculous  was  inborn,  and  Emerson 
saw  at  once  that  her  satire  was  only  the  outlet  of  super- 
abundant wit  and  spirits,  and  soon  went  far  beyond  this  into 
an  admiring  study  of  her  "  many  moods  and  powers."  What 
a  great  soul  she  must  have  been  to  have  won  from  Emerson 
this  eulogy :  "  She  was  an  active,  inspiring  companion  and 
correspondent,  and  all  the  art,  the  thought,  and  the  nobleness 
in  New  England  seemed  at  that  moment  related  to  her,  and 
she  to  it.  She  was  everywhere  a  welcome  guest.  Her 
arrival  was  a  holiday  and  so  was  her  abode,  and  all  tasks  that 
could  be  suspended  were  put  aside  to  catch  the  favorable 
hour  in  walking,  riding,  or  boating ;  to  talk  with  this  joyful 
guest,  who  brought  wit,  anecdote,  love  stories,  tragedies, 
oracles  with  her,  and,  with  her  broad  web  of  relations  to  so 
many  fine  friends,  seemed  like  the  queen  of  some  parliament 
of  love,  who  carried  the  key  to  all  confidences,  and  to  whom 
every  question  had  been  finally  referred.  The  day  was 
never  long  enough  to  exhaust  he*-  opulent  memory,  and  I, 


MARGARET  FULLER.  395 

who  knew  her  intimately  from  July,  1836,  till  August,  1846, 
—  when  she  sailed  for  Europe,  —  never  saw  her  without  sur- 
prise at  her  new  powers."  Yet  the  phrases  "  imperious 
dame"  and  "haughty  assurance,"  with  the  sentence,  "She 
extorted  the  secret  of  life,"  show  that  there  was  still  too 
much  of  the  autocrat  in  her  manner.  From  the  beginning 
she  had  idealized  herself  as  a  sovereign,  and  said  coolly  of 
Shakspeare :  "  He  was  as  premature  as  myself."  She  said 
plainly  that  no  man  ever  gave  such  invitation  to  her  mind  as 
to  tempt  her  to  full  expression.  "A  woman  of  tact  and 
brilliancy  like  me  has  an  undue  advantage  in  conversation 
with  men."  She  also  made  this  astounding  statement :  "  I 
now  know  all  the  people  worth  knowing  in  America,  and  I 
find  no  intellect  comparable  with  my  own."  No  wonder  that 
Emerson  spoke  of  her  "mountainous  Me,"  and  Lowell  alluded 
playfully  to  her 

"  I-turn-the-crank-of-the-Universe  air." 

With  all  this  there  is  for  those  who  have  studied  her 
carefully  a  deal  of  truth  in  what  Miss  Brackett  says  on 
this  point :  "  It  seems  to  me  that  those  who  accuse  her 
of  self-esteem  in  any  fault-finding  sense  simply  show  their 
own  littleness.  To  her,  life,  in  others,  in  herself,  was  an  art. 
Always  a  sculptor,  fully  conscious  of  the  difficulties  of  her 
task,  she  stood  chisel  in  hand  before  a  half-finished  statue." 
This  is  excellent,  and  will  prove  a  key  to  much  that  without 
it  cannot  be  rightly  understood. 

But  she  could  not  help  knowing  her  power  as  a  converser. 
I  will  not  say  "  conversationalist,"  for  it  weakens  the  praise 
due  her.  I  wonder  that  "  conversationalisabilitativeness " 
has  not  been  coined  for  the  use  of  those  who  imagine  that 
with  every  added  syllable  a  greater  idea  of  power  is  given. 

What  other  woman  in  this  country  has  achieved  a  lasting 
reputation  as  a  converser?  Miss  Fuller  never  wearied  her 
auditors.  "I  never  wanted  her  to  stop,"  was  the  universal 
testimony.  She  was  also  willing  to  listen  patiently,  cordially, 
and  enjoyed  making  other  women  talk  well. 


306  MARGARET  FULLER. 

With  other  extraordinary  talkers  the  experience  has  been 
vastly  different.  When  Coleridge  expatiated  for  two  hours 
on  a  couple  of  ragged  soldiers  he  had  encountered  by  the 
roadside,  Theodore  Hook  exclaimed  at  the  close,  "Thank 
God  he  did  not  meet  the  regiment !  "  There  was  a  preachiness 
in  his  harangues  which  was  intolerable.  Carlyle  was  terribly 
severe  on  his  monologues,  and  had  the  courage  to  say  that 
few  had  any  idea  what  the  old  man  was  driving  at.  Rogers, 
too,  declared  he  often  did  not  understand  one  word  the 
oracle  was  pouring  forth. 

Schiller  groaned  after  two  or  three  interviews  with  De 
Stael :  "  I  feel  as  if  I  had  had  a  month's  illness ; "  and  said 
that  in  order  to  follow  her  one  had  absolutely  to  convert 
himself  wholly  into  an  organ  of  hearing.  Goethe  dreaded  the 
encounter,  and  braced  himself  as  for  a  serious  trial.  Byron 
called  her  an  avalanche  in  society. 

Johnson  was  dogmatism  personified.  No  one  else  had  the 
slightest  chance,  and  Carlyle,  who  inveighed  constantly 
against  talking,  was  a  growling,  cross-grained  pessimist, 
with  a  profound  respect  for  his  own  opinions  and  a  profound 
contempt  for  the  world  at  large  —  a  combination,  as  Dr. 
Lord  wittily  put  it,  of  Diogenes,  Jeremiah,  and  Dr.  Johnson. 

Brougham  thought  that  any  one  was  lucky  to  get  off  alive 
from  one  of  Macaulay's  erudite  and  torrent-like  monologues, 
and  Sydney  Smith  made  merry  over  his  nightmare  w^hen  he 
dreamed  he  was  chained  to  a  rock  and  talked  to  death  by 
Harriet  Martineau  and  Macaulay. 

Is  there  any  other  woman  who  has  a  more  enviable  reputa- 
tion as  an  eloquent  and  instructive  converser  ?  It  was  Miss 
Fuller's  especial  ambition  to  talk  well.  "  If  I  were  a  man 
the  gift  I  would  choose  should  be  that  of  eloquence.  I  would 
prefer  it  to  a  more  permanent  influence.  Conversation  is  my 
natural  element.  I  need  to  be  called  out,  and  never  think 
alone  without  imagining  some  companion."  She  added  to 
this,  "It  bespeaks  a  second-rate  mind." 

One  of  her  friends  says  of  her  wonderful  power  in  this 
direction  :  "  Her  mood  applies  itself  to  the  mood  of  her  com- 


MARGARET  FULLER.  307 

panion  —  point  to  point,  in  the  most  limber,  sinuous,  vital 
way,  and  drew  out  the  most  extraordinary  narratives,  yet  she 
had  a  light  sort  of  laugh  when  all  was  said,  as  if  she  thought 
she  could  live  over  that  revelation.  And  this  sufficient 
sympathy  she  had  for  ail  persons  indifferently  —  for  lovers,  for 
artists,  and  beautiful  maids,  and  ambitious  young  statesmen, 
and  for  old  aunts  and  coach-travellers.  Ah !  she  applied 
herself  to  the  mood  of  her  companion,  as  the  sponge  applies 
itself  to  water." 

Emerson  says  of  his  conversations  with  her  :  "  They  inter- 
ested me  in  every  manner,  —  talent,  memory,  wit,  stern 
introspection,  poetic  play,  religion,  the  finest  personal  feel- 
ing, the  aspects  of  the  future,  each  followed  each  in  full 
activity.  She  knew  how  to  concentrate  into  racy  phrases  the 
essential  truth  gathered  from  wide  research  and  distilled  with 
patient  toil,  and  by  skilful  treatment  she  could  make  green 
again  the  wastes  of  commonplace." 

From  this  we  drift  naturally  into  the  Conversation  Class 
started  by  her  in  Boston  in  1839.  She  needed  money,  and 
many  bright  and  thoughtful  women  were  glad  to  pay  for  the 
privilege  of  being  guided  by  her  in  discussion  and  listening  to 
her  decisions.  And  it  is  pleasant  to  miss  her  former  arro- 
gance, as  she  says  modestly :  "I  am  so  sure  that  the  success 
of  the  whole  depends  on  conversation  being  general  that  I  do 
not  wish  any  one  to  come  who  does  not  intend,  if  possible,  to 
take  an  active  part.  General  silence  or  side  talks  would 
paralyze  me.  I  should  feel  coarse  and  misplaced  were  I  to 
harangue  overmuch." 

The  ladies  met  at  Miss  Peabody's  rooms.  Miss  Fuller 
alluded  to  the  sad  fact  that  women  run  over  a  great  variety 
of  studies  in  school,  but  when  they  come  into  real  life  find 
themselves  unfit  for  any  practical  work,  as  they  learn  without 
any  attempt  to  reproduce.  She  was  not  there  as  a  teacher, 
but  to  give  her  views  and  elicit  thought  from  others.  The 
entire  circle  met  her  with  charming  responsiveness.  They 
began  with  Mythology,  then  took  up  the  Fine  Arts,  Educa- 
tion, her  favorite  theme  of  Demonology,  and  the  Ideal.  I  am 


308  MARGARET  FULLER. 

glad  k>  say  that  Miss  Fuller  was  always  well  dressed  and 
looked  "  sumptuously,"  and  am  more  glad  to  add  that,  while 
her  toilet  was  appropriate,  it  was  the  magnificent  impression 
made  by  her  genius  and  her  face,  glorified  by  lustrous 
thoughts,  that  gave  the  idea  of  splendor,  for  her  dress  had 
no  special  expense. 

The  influence  of  this  class  was  grand  and  wide-spreading. 
"Everything  she  said  had  the  power  of  germinating  in  other 
minds,"  and  one  lady,  who  did  not  like  Miss  Fuller,  and  was 
a  severe  critic,  was  obliged  to  say  after  one  of  these  rare 
treats :  "  I  never  heard,  read  of,  or  imagined  a  conversation 
at  all  equal  to  this  we  have  now  heard." 

Her  fame  increased,  and  gentlemen  begged  for  an  even- 
ing class  to  which  they  might  be  admitted.  This  was 
arranged,  but  she  was  still  the  head  by  general  consent, 
and  Margaret  was  the  best  informed  of  all  the  party.  "Take 
her  as  a  whole,  she  has  the  most  to  bestow  on  others  by  con- 
versation of  any  person  I  have  ever  known.  I  cannot 
conceive  of  any  species  of  vanity  living  in  her  presence.  She 
distances  all  who  talk  with  her."  It  is  something  to  be 

o 

proud  of  that  no  man  ever  had  to  talk  down  to  her  standard. 

The  summer  of  1839  saw  the  full  dawn  of  the  Transcen- 
dental movement  in  New  England,  and  Mr.  Frothingham 
says  that  Margaret  Fuller  was  certainly,  next  to  Emerson,  the 
most  noble  representative  of  this  new  departure,  "  a  peer  of 
the  realm  in  this  new  world  of  thought." 

Their  organ  was  the  "Dial, "and  Miss  Fuller  was  the  editor 
for  four  years.  She  worked  laboriously  for  small  pay,  and 
did  much  for  its  success.  It  is  now  principally  regarded  as  a 
literary  curiosity. 

In  the  autumn  of  1844  she  was  invited  by  Mr.  Greeley, 
who  had  been  impressed  by  her  articles  in  the  "Dial,"  to 
become  a  constant  contributor  to  the  "New- York  Tribune.*' 
This  was  just  the  opening  she  had  desired,  for  she  had 
written  only  a  few  weeks  before  :  "At  present  I  feel  inclined 
to  impel  the  general  stream  of  thought ;  my  nearest  friends 
also  wish  that  I  should  now  take  share  in  more  public  life." 


MARGARET  FULLER.  309 

In  December  she  took  up  her  abode  with  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Greeley.  Ill-health  and  her  habit  of  waiting  for  a  mood 
were  against  her  in  this  new  position.  Mr.  Greeley  at  first 
disliked  her,  but  they  were  soon  devoted  friends.  How 
beautifully  he  speaks  of  her  devotion  to  children,  and  her 
especial  love  for  his  little  Pickie,  who  in  turn  gave  his  whole 
heart  to  "Aunty  Margaret."  He  also  applauds  her  courage 
and  compassion  in  ministering  to  those  of  her  own  sex  who 
are  called  "outcasts."  "I  regard  them,"  she  nobly  said,  "as 
women  like  myself,  save  that  they  are  victims  of  wrong  or 
misfortune " ;  and  while  others  deplored  their  condition  and 
shunned  them,  she  labored  to  vindicate  and  redeem.  Her 
articles  for  the  "  Tribune "  are  not  especially  valuable  to- 
day. Her  criticisms  were  far  from  infallible,  but  she  was 
always  sincere,  never  discussed  in  a  frivolous  spirit,  was  never 
an  imitator,  never  spoke  for  a  clique  or  sect.  Her  honest, 
independent  convictions  were  her  only  guide.  Her  judgment 
of  Longfellow  was  unreasonably  severe,  and  it  was  a  hard 
slap  to  say  of  Lowell,  "  His  verse  is  stereotyped,  his  thought 
sounds  no  depth,  posterity  will  not  remember  him."  No 
wonder  that  Lowell  following  Goldsmith's  example  attempted 
a  playful  retaliation  in  his  "Fable  for  Critics,"  giving  her  the 
name  she  had  herself  assumed  :  — 

"  But  there  comes  Miranda ;  Zeus !  where  shall  I  flee  to  ? 
She  has  such  a  penchant  for  bothering  me,  too  ! 
She  always  keeps  asking  if  I  don't  observe  a 
Particular  likeness  'twixt  her  and  Minerva. 
She  will  take  an  old  notion  and  make  it  her  own 
By  saying  it  o'er  in  her  Sybilline  tone, 
Or  persuade  you  'tis  something  tremendously  deep 
By  repeating  it  so  as  to  put  you  to  sleep." 

What  a  picture  he  drew  of  her  in  one  line !  — 
"The  whole  of  whose  being's  a  capital  I." 

Lowell  is  also  supposed  to  have  sketched  Margaret  Fuller 
in  his  "Studies  of  Two  Heads,"  — 


310  MARGARET  FULLER. 

"  Her  eye  —  it  seems  a  chemic  test 
And  drops  upon  you  like  an  acid ; 
It  bites  you  with  unconscious  zest, 
So  clear  and  bright,  so  coldly  placid, 
It  holds  you  quietly  aloof, 
It  holds  —  and  yet  it  does  not  win  you; 
It  merely  puts  you  to  the  proof 
And  sorts  what  qualities  are  in  you ; 
It  smiles,  but  never  brings  you  nearer, 
It  lights,  —  her  nature  draws  not  nigh ; 
'Tis  but  that  yours  is  growing  clearer 
To  her  assays ;  —  yes,  try  and  try, 
You'll  get  no  deeper  than  her  eye. 

"  There  you  are  classified  ;  she's  gone 
Far,  far  away  into  herself ; 
Each  with  its  Latin  label  on, 
Your  poor  components,  one  by  one, 
Are  laid  upon  their  proper  shelf 
In  her  compact  and  ordered  mind, 
And  what  of  you  is  left  behind 
Is  no  more  to  her  than  the  wind ; 
In  that  clear  brain,  which  day  and  night, 
No  movement  of  her  heart  'ere  jostles, 
Her  friends  are  ranged  on  left  and  right,  — 
Here,  silex,  hornblende,  sienite ; 
There,  animal  remains  and  fossils." 

Miss  Fuller  was  quite  a  lion  in  New  York  society,  but  the 
old  feeling  of  isolation  never  left  her.  "Alone,  as  usual," 
was  her  reply  when  questioned  as  to  the  reason  for  sighing 
after  a  merry  evening.  There  is  no  loneliness  in  life  like  this, 
and  it  is  a  subject  upon  which  a  woman  cannot  enlarge  without 
being  laughed  at  or  accused  of  maudlin  yearnings  or  weak 
sentimentality,  but  Mrs.  Browning  and  others  have  dared  to 
depict  this  heart-tragedy  borne  in  cheerful  silence  by  many  a 
brave  and  brilliant  woman  who  is  expected  to  give  bread,  nay 
meat  and  wine,  to  others,  without  a  crumb  to  feed  her  own 
starving  heart. 


MARGARET  FULLER.  311 

"  Ye  weep  for  those  who  weep  ?   she  said 
Ah,  fools !    I  bid  you  pass  them  by. 
Go,  weep  for  those  whose  hearts  have  bled, 
What  time  their  eyes  were  dry. 
Whom  sadder  can  I  say?  she  cried." 

In  the  spring  of  1846  Miss  Fuller  went  abroad  with  a 
party  of  friends,  and  her  letters  tell  of  her  meeting  with 
almost  all  the  noted  men  and  women  of  her  time  in  a  way 
that  interests  all  and  can  offend  or  injure  none.  She  found 
it  impossible  to  get  in  a  word  when  with  Carlyle. 

It  must  have  been  a  severe  verbal  tussle,  but  the  Chelsea 
sage  conquered  by  brute  force.  "  To  interrupt  him,"  she 
complains,  "  is  a  physical  impossibility.  If  you  get  a  chance 
to  remonstrate  for  a  moment,  he  raises  his  voice  and  bears 
you  down ;  he  allows  no  one  a  chance." 

These  were  hard  lines  for  the  woman  who  in  her  own 
country  had  been  so  long  accustomed  to  reign,  and  had 
found  all  glad  and  grateful  to  listen  to  her  wisdom. 

Her  experience  reminds  me  of  the  indignant  Frenchman, 
who  had  been  vainly  trying  to  break  in  upon  his  opponent's 
fiery  monologue.  "  If  he  coughs  or  spits  he  is  lost !  "  And 
of  Sydney  Smith's  declaration  that  Macaulay  had  never 
yet  heard  his  voice,  as  when  they  met  they  would  both  talk 
every  moment  on  perhaps  totally  different  themes,  each 
regardless  of  the  other's  eloquence.  After  one  of  these 
encounters  Sydney  pathetically  exclaimed,  thinking  of  all  the 
good  things  he  had  said,  "Poor  Macaulay,  he'll  be  very  sorry 
some  day  to  have  missed  all  this  !  " 

Miss  Martineau,  who  had  evidently  been  offended  by  Miss 
Fuller's  frank  expressions  of  dislike  to  some  portions  of  her 
book  on  America,  said  that  she  did  not  enjoy  herself  except 
where  she  could  harangue  the  whole  drawing-room  parly 
without  any  interruption,  although  there  were  those  present 
as  eminent  as  herself;  and  describes  comically  Miss  Fuller's 
disappointment  that  Miss  Martineau,  after  her  marvellous  cure 
by  mesmerism,  exhibited  no  unusual  manifestations,  and  was 
in  fact  more  commonplace  than  ever.  Miss  Martineau  had  a 


312  MARGARET  FULLER. 

bad  habit  of  giving  every  one  a  black  eye  as  she  passed  them, 
and  did  not  fail  in  her  autobiography  to  pummel  her  former 
friend,  saying :  — 

"  The  difference  between  us  was  that  while  she  was  living 
and  moving  in  an  ideal  world,  talking  in  private  and  dis- 
coursing in  public  about  the  most  fanciful  and  shallow 
conceits  which  the  transcendentalists  of  Boston  took  for 
philosophy,  she  looked  down  upon  persons  w~ho  acted  instead 
of  talking  finely,  and  devoted  their  fortunes,  their  peace, 
their  repose,  and  their  very  lives  to  the  preservation  of  the 
principles  of  the  republic.  While  Margaret  Fuller  and  her 
adult  pupils  sat  "gorgeously  dressed,"  talking  about  Mars 
and  Venus,  Plato  and  Goethe,  and  fancying  themselves  the 
elect  of  the  earth  in  intellect  and  refinement,  the  liberties  of 
the  republic  were  running  out  as  fast  as  they  could  go,  at  a 
breach  which  another  sort  of  elect  persons  were  devoting 
themselves  to  repair ;  and  my  complaint  against  the  "  gorge- 
ous "  pedants  was  that  they  regarded  their  preservers  as 
hewers  of  wood  and  drawers  of  water,  and  their  work  as  a 
less  vital  one  than  the  pedantic  orations  which  were  spoiling  a 
set  of  well-meaning  women  in  a  pitiable  way.  .  .  .  Her  life  in 
Boston  was  little  short  of  destructive.  In  the  most  pedantic  age 
of  society  in  her  own  country,  and  in  its  most  pedantic  city, 
she  who  was  just  beginning  to  rise  out  of  pedantic  habits 
of  thought  and  speech  relapsed  most  grievously.  She  was 
not  only  completely  spoiled  in  conversation  and  manners, 
she  made  false  estimates  of  the  objects  and  interests  of  human 
life.  She  was  not  content  with  pursuing,  and  inducing  others 
to  pursue  a  metaphysical  idealism  destructive  of  all  genuine 
feeling  and  sound  activity  :  she  mocked  at  objects  and  efforts 
of  a  higher  order  than  her  own,  and  despised  those  who,  like 
myself,  could  not  adopt  her  scale  of  valuation.  All  this 
might  have  been  spared,  a  world  of  mischief  saved,  and  a 
world  of  good  effected,  if  she  had  found  her  heart  a  dozen 
years  sooner,  and  in  America  instead  of  Italy.  It  is  the  most 
grievous  loss  I  have  almost  ever  known  in  private  history,  — 
the  deferring  of  Margaret  Fuller's  married  life  so  long." 


MARGARET  FULLER.  313 

Greeley  admired  Channing's  delicate  way  of  expressing  the 
fact  that,  being  such  a  genuine  woman,  her  life  was  maimed 
and  marred  by  lack  of  a  satisfying  love  and  a  home,  adding, 
"If  I  had  attempted  to  say  this  I  should  have  somehow  blun- 
dered out  that,  great  and  noble  as  she  was,  a  good  husband 
and  two  or  three  bouncing  babies  would  have  emancipated 
her  from  a  deal  of  cant  and  nonsense."  But  the  change  is 
near.  Six  years  before  in  prophetic  strain  she  gave  a  glimpse 
of  the  volcano  beneath  the  snow  :  "  Once  I  was  almost  all 
intellect,  now  I  am  almost  all  feeling.  Nature  vindicates  her 
rights  and  I  feel  all  Italy  glowing  beneath  the  Saxon  crust. 
This  cannot  last  long.  I  shall  burn  to  ashes  if  all  this 
smoulders  here  much  longer.  I  must  die  if  I  do  not  burst 
forth  in  genius  or  heroism." 

An  ample  outlet  for  this  flood  of  feeling  came  to  her  in  the 
Italian  struggle  for  freedom  and  her  romantic  marriage  with 
the  young  Marquis  D'Ossoli,  while  her  inclination  to  hero-wor- 
ship drew  her  irresistibly  to  Mazzini,  whom  she  described  as 
"  in  mind  a  great  poetic  statesman,  in  heart  a  lover,  in  action 
decisive  and  full  of  resources  as  Caesar."  Her  own  heroism 
and  philanthrophy  shone  nobly  in  her  devotion  to  the  cause  of 
freedom,  her  tireless  nursing  of  the  wounded  soldiers  in  the 
hospital  wrhere  she  was  directress,  for  whom  she  "would  have 
sold  her  hair,  or  blood  from  her  arm ; "  and  her  generosity 
was  always  so  excessive  as  to  be  almost  unfair  to  herself. 

Her  marriage,  kept  private  for  more  than  a  year  for 
pecuniary  and  political  reasons,  was  a  strange  affair  to  one 
who  did  not  know  the  woman's  need  and  longings,  much  like 
Madame  de  Stael's  private  marriage  with  the  invalid  soldier 
Rocca,  who  was  so  much  her  junior,  and  inferior  to  her  in 
everything  but  love  and  devotion.  But  all  Margaret's  friends 
felt  what  one  expressed  :  "  I  have  an  unshaken  trust  that  what 
Margaret  did  she  can  defend." 

As  she  rejoiced  that  in  D'Ossoli  her  heart  had  "  found  a 
home,"  no  one  should  dare  to  blame  or  criticise  or  even 
wonder.  She  could  talk  of  her  friends  without  treachery  or 
gossip ;  an  example  I  am  proud  to  follow. 


314  MARGARET  FULLER. 

She  was  an  utterly  changed  being  after  the  birth  of  her 
boy,  Angelo  ;  no  arrogance,  conceit  all  gone,  only  love,  hope, 
and  peace.  She  writes  :  "  What  a  difference  it  makes  to  come 
home  to  a  child !  how  it  fills  up  all  the  gaps  of  life,  just  in 
the  way  that  is  most  consoling — most  refreshing.  Formerly 
I  used  to  feel  sad  at  twilight ;  the  day  had  not  been  nobly 
spent ;  I  had  not  done  my  duty  to  myself  and  others,  and  I 
felt  so  lonely  !  Now,  I  never  feel  lonely,  for  even  if  my  little 
boy  dies,  our  souls  will  remain  eternally  united.  I  console  my- 
self in  him  for  my  own  incapacities.  Nothing  but  a  child  can 
take  the  worst  bitterness  out  of  life.  The  most  solid  hap- 
piness I  have  known  has  been  when  he  has  gone  to  sleep  in  my 
arms."  I  like  to  think  of  Margaret  Fuller,  the  happy  mother, 
bending  over  her  baby,  splashing  with  merry  frolic  in  his  bath, 
one  bright  and  perfect  gleam  of  sunshine  in  her  clouded  life. 

New  and  terrible  tr»als  were  in  store  for  her.  During  the 
siege  of  Kome  she  had  to  be  separated  from  both  husband 
and  child ;  one  constantly  in  danger,  the  other  in  the  charge 
of  an  unprincipled  nurse,  who  was  willing  to  starve  her  darling 
for  the  lack  of  a  few  scudi.  She  wrote  :  "  What  I  endured  at 
that  time  in  various  ways  not  many  would  survive.  In 
the  burning  sun,  I  went  every  day  to  wait  in  the  crowd  for 
letters.  Often  they  did  not  come.  I  saw  blood  that  had 
streamed  on  the  wall  where  D'Ossoli  was.  I  have  a  piece  of  a 
bomb  that  burst  close  to  him."  She  now  wrote  to  Channing : 

o 

"  You  say  truly  I  shall  come  home  humbler.  God  grant  it 
may  be  entirely  humble.  In  future,  while  more  than  ever 
deeply  penetrated  with  principles  and  the  need  of  the  martyr 
spirit  to  sustain  them,  I  will  ever  own  that  there  are  few 
worthy,  and  that  I  am  one  of  the  least."  See  the  statue  fully 
freed  from  the  rough  block. 

The  piteousness  of  poverty  is  ten  times  increased  when  it 
cramps  and  saddens  genius,  and  it  is  painful  to  recall  her 
words ;  "  It  is  very  sad  we  have  no  money,  we  could  be  so 
quietly  happy  a, while."  She  was  obliged  to  support  her 
family  by  her  pen  while  preparing  her  history  of  the  "  Recent 
Revolution  in  Europe,"  which,  alas,  was  lost  at  sea. 


WRECK  OF  THE  SHIP  "ELIZABETH"  AND  DEATH  OF  MARGARET  FULLER, 
HER  HUSBAND,  AND  CHILD. 


MARGARET  FULLER.  315 

But  her  face  was  now  turned  homeward  and  mother- 
ward.  Their  passage  was  taken  in  a  sailing  vessel,  the 
Elizabeth.  Fate  again  loomed  gloomily  on  her  path.  D'Ossoli 
had  been  warned  years  ago  to  "beware  of  the  sea,"  and 
Margaret  said,  "  I  am  absurdly  fearful,  and  various  omens 
have  combined  to  give  me  a  dark  feeling.  In  case  of  mis- 
hap, however,  I  shall  perish  with  my  husband  and  child,  and 
we  may  be  transferred  to  some  happier  state." 

God  grant  that  this  is  now  a  blessed  reality  !  Every  one 
knows  the  result.  Their  captain  was  a  victim  of  small-pox, 
and  Angelo  just  escaped.  When  just  in  sight  of  land  the 
ship  struck  on  Fire  Island  beach  at  daybreak.  The  rest  is 
too  agonizing  to  redescribe,  when  all  have  the  scene  in  their 
own  minds.  Her  death  was  like  all  the  rest ;  within  sight  of 
land,  an  idle  life-boat,  beach-pirates  —  not  one  to  save. 

Channing  exclaims  :  "Did  the  last  scene  appear  but  as  the 
fitting  close  to  a  life  of  storms,  where  no  safe  haven  was  ever 
in  reach,  where  thy  richest  treasures  were  so  often  stranded, 
where  even  the  nearest  and  dearest  seemed  always  too  far  off, 
or  too  late  to  help?  "  She  died  for  love,  she  might  have  been 
saved,  but  all  must  be  saved  or  lost.  What  a  tableau  for  im- 
mortality was  Margaret,  seated  in  her  white  robe  at  the  foot 
of  the  foremast,  her  fair  hair  fallen  loose  upon  her  shoulders, 
face  to  face  with  death  !  This  is  her  epitaph  :  —  "  By  birth  a 
citizen  of  New  England  ;  by  adoption  a  citizen  of  Rome  ;  by 
genius,  belonging  to  the  world."  Better  than  this,  is  the  tes- 
timony of  a  friend :  "  She  helped  whoever  knew  her." 

"  Thus  closed  thy  day  in  darkness  and  in  tears  ; 
Thus  waned  a  life,  alas !  too  full  of  pain  ; 
But  Oh,  thou  noble  woman !  thy  brief  life 
Though  full  of  sorrow,  was  not  lived  in  vain." 

Not  in  vain,  if  the  women  of  this  land  avoid  her  errors, 
imitate  her  virtues,  and  endeavor  to  carry  out  the  reforms 
which  she  inaugurated.  Let  us  adopt  her  motto,  "  Give  us 
truth  ;  "  her  watchword,  "  Patience,"  and,  with  her,  —  "  love 
best  to  be  a  woman." 


CHAPTER  XIV. 
ABBY    HOPPER    GIBBONS. 

BY  LUCIA  GILBERT   RUNKLE. 

"  Father  Hopper's  "  Work  Among  Convicts  and  Felons  —  First  Sunday  Ser- 
vices in  a  Jail  —  Abby  Hopper's  Girlhood  —  Following  in  the  Footsteps 
of  Her  Father  —  Her  Work  among  the  Inmates  of  the  New  York  Tombs 
—  The  "  Isaac  T.  Hopper  Home  "  —  The  School  for  Street  Children  — 
The  Waifs  and  Strays  of  Randall's  Island  —  Charity  Children  —  An 
Appeal  for  Dolls  —  Generous  Response  —  Affecting  Incident  —  The  Story 
of  Robert  Denyer  —  Mrs.  Gibbons'  Work  During  the  War  —  Nursing 
Union  Soldiers  —  The  Draft  Riots  in  New  York  —  An  Exciting  Time  — 
Attacking  Mrs.  Gibbons'  House  —  Havoc  and  Devastation  Wrought  by 
the  Mob  — Work  After  the  War  — A  Noble  Life. 

HE  "Hapsburgh  lip,"  the  "  Guelph  heaviness," 
the  "Adams  temper,"  are  historic.  That  subtle 
drop  of  blood  which  forever  bequeaths  its  ten- 
dencies descends  from  sire  to  son  through  long 
generations.  But  not  less  certainly  does  excel- 
lence derive  itself  from  excellence.  Philan- 
thropy in  certain  races  is  an  inheritance,  and 
the  Hopper  good-will  is  as  truly  a  characteristic 
as  the  "  Hapsburgh  lip." 

The  father  of  Mrs.  Gibbons,  Isaac  T.  Hopper, 
of  beautiful  memory,  spent  sixty-five  years  of  his 
allotted  fourscore  in  constant,  cheerful,  brotherly  labors 
for  the  outcast,  the  prisoner,  and  the  fugitive.  When  he 
left  his  home,  at  the  age  of  sixteen,  to  begin  life  for  him- 
self, his  mother,  a  woman  of  lofty  and  generous  character, 
said  to  him  :  "  My  son,  you  are  now  going  forth  to  make 
your  own  way  in  the  world.  Always  remember  that  you  are 
as  good  as  any  other  person ;  but  remember,  also,  that  you 
are  no  better."  This  counsel  he  received  as  a  birthright,  and 
316 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  317 

the  Hopper  claim  to  it  still  holds  good.  On  the  one  side  he 
had  always  the  courage  of  his  opinions,  the  self-respect  that  — 

"  Dares  to  be 
In  the  right  with  two  or  three ; " 

on  the  other,  he  kept  the  simplest  modesty,  without  self-con- 
sciousness. His  wife  was  a  woman  of  great  beauty  and  singular 
high-mindedness.  They  belonged  to  the  society  of  Friends, 
and' believed  in  the  duty  of  the  simplest  living,  that  world- 
liness  might  not  corrupt  or  superfluities  defraud  charity. 

Into  this  plain  home  many  sons  and  daughters  were  born, 
to  delight  in  the  beauty  and  sweetness  of  their  mother,  and 
that  resistless  charm  of  their  witty,  fun-loving,  sport-devising, 
story-telling,  dramatic,  Quaker  father,  which,  when  he  was 
an  old  man,  still  drew  children  to  crowd  about  him,  and 
prefer  "Father  Hopper"  to  their  young  playmates.  From 
babyhood  his  own  boys  and  girls  were  familiar  with  instances 
of  want  and  misery  that  might  have  made  them  unhappy  had 
there  been  any  morbidness  and  sentimentalism  in  the  atmos- 
phere of  the  household.  But  they  were  taught,  with  a  simple 
matter-of-course-ness  which  precluded  harm,  that  the  unfor- 
tunate had  a  human  claim  upon  them.  Time  and  sympathy 
were  not  to  be  wasted  in  vain  pity,  but  devoted  to  practical 
help.  Abused  apprentices,  fugitive  slaves,  wronged  seamen, 
defrauded  workwomen,  were  familiar  figures  in  their  home. 
On  Saturday  afternoon  they  used  to  take  long  country 
rambles  with  their  lather,  always  stopping  at  the  prison  to 
leave  whatever  comforts  they  had  been  able  to  procure  for  its 
inmates.  For  many  years  Friend  Hopper  was  an  official 
inspector  of  prisons,  and  a  tireless  Good  Samaritan  to  the 
most  questionable  neighbor. 

Those  were  days  when  it  was  still  a  recent  discovery  that 
convicts  were  human  beings,  capable  of  reformation,  and 
penetrable  to  kindness.  Near  the  close  of  the  last  century 
the  Rev.  Dr.  Rogers  of  Philadelphia,  one  of  the  committee 
of  the  first  society  formed  in  this  country  "  for  relieving  the 
miseries  of  public  prisons,"  proposed  to  address  a  religious 
20 


318  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

exhortation  to  the  prisoners  on  Sunday.  The  keeper  assured 
him  that  his  life  would  be  in  danger.  Solitary  confinement 
was  the  rule  of  the  jail.  If  the  convicts  were  allowed  to 
assemble  together  it  was  feared  that  they  would  overpower 
the  guard  and  escape,  to  rob  and  murder  as  they  went.  The 
sheriff  finally  granted  an  order  for  the  performance  of  religious 
services.  But  the  warden  obeyed  it  with  fear  and  trembling, 
actually  ordering  a  loaded  cannon  to  be  planted  near  the 
clergyman,  a  gamier  beside  it  with  alighted  match,  while  the 
motley  worshippers  were  ranged  in  solid  column,  directly  in 
front  of  their  srim  threatener.  This  is  believed  to  have  been 

o 

the  first  attempt  ever  made  in  America  to  hold  Sunday 
services  in  a  jail. 

Friend  Hopper  used  to  say  that  there  was  not  a  convict  in 
Philadelphia,  however  desperate,  with  whom  he  should  fear 
to  trust  himself  alone  at  midnight  anywhere.  He  was  once 
warned  against  a  certain  violent  and  revengeful  felon  who  had 
been  heard  to  threaten  the  life  of  a  keeper.  Thereupon  he 
summoned  the  man,  telling  him  that  he  was  wanted  to  pile 
some  lumber  in  a  cellar,  and  went  down  with  him  to  hold  the 
light.  They  remained  for  more  than  an  hour  in  that  solitary 
place,  the  Quaker  talking  in  the  friendliest  way  to  his  sullen 
companion.  When  they  came  up  again  it  was  plain  that  the 
man's  dangerous  mood  was  past,  for  the  time,  at  least. 
Presently  it  became  the  rule,  whenever  the  final  resources  of 
prison  discipline  failed,  to  send  for  Friend  Hopper,  whose 
shrewd  kindness  prevailed  in  the  end  against  the  most  dogged 
obstinacy  and  malevolence. 

All  the  children  of  this  extraordinary  man  inherited  his 
spirit.  But  his  second  daughter,  Abby,  heard  the  "  inner 
voice"  calling  upon  her  to  take  up  his  peculiar  work  in  his 
peculiar  way.  Teaching  in  girlhood,  and  mothering  the 
younger  children,  left  by  their  mother's  long  illness  and 
death  to  their  elder  sisters,  she  still  found  time  to  be  her 
father's  constant  aid  and  counsellor. 

After  her  marriage  and  removal  to  New  York  cares  came 
upon  her  in  battalions.  With  no  home  duty  neglected, 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  319 

and  with  an  ever-demanding  spirit  of  helpfulness,  exerted, 
not  in  sentiment,  but  instance  by  instance,  the  days  were  full. 
Six  children  were  born  to  the  young  couple.  Money  was 
never  plentiful,  and  the  consequent  claims  upon  the  time, 
strength,  and  ingenuity  of  the  mother  and  housekeeper  were 
unending.  But  her  wonderful  management  so  systematized 
affairs  as  to  leave  leisure  for  innumerable  good  works. 

Fashionable  ladies  keep  an  "  engagement-book,"  lest,  in 
the  whirl  of  their  days,  some  visit  of  ceremony,  some  over- 
due invitation,  some  civil  message  or  arbitrary  courtesy 
should  be  neglected.  The  punctual  Quakeress  needed  no 
memorandum  of  social  duties  even  more  numerous  and  press- 
ing. For  fifty  years  and  more,  five  days  of  every  week  have 
been  "  visiting  days  "  with  her. 

Every  Wednesday  found  her  at  the  Tombs,  that  grim 
Egyptian  pile  which  is  the  city  Bridewell.  Only  one 
who  has  stood  within  the  bounds  of  a  prison  can  com- 
prehend the  gloomy  misery  of  the  place,  or  the  self-denial 
implied  in  frequent  visits  to  its  squalid  inmates.  The 
bolts  and  bars ;  the  multiplied  iron  doors ;  the  narrow 
guarded  passages ;  the  far  grated  windows  just  below  the 
ceiling,  through  which  no  ray  of  sunshine  glances ;  the  chill, 
and  silence,  and  mocking  neatness ;  the  stark,  strait  walls, 
which,  to  affrighted  fancy,  seem  ever  to  be  narrowing;  the 
unvarying  routine  of  stagnant  hours  —  these  things  give  one 
a  suffocating  sense  of  living  burial,  and  the  human  life 
entombed  there  is  horrible  to  see.  Men  and  women, 
debauched,  quarrelsome,  drunken,  sickening  to  every  sense, 
and,  to  the  common  judgment,  conscienceless  as  the  beasts, 
and  incapable  of  reformation,  sulk  and  complain  in  the  dole- 
ful cells,  which,  after  all,  are  less  dreadful  places  than  the 
dens  which  fill  them.  Familiarity  with  such  creatures  natu- 
rally breeds  indifference  to  them.  Official  justice  naturally 
confounds  unhardened  culprits  with  hopeless  offenders. 

Armed  with  discretion  in  the  needed  discrimination,  the 
Prison  Association,  whom  Mrs.  Gibbons  represented,  at- 
tempted to  help  those  who  were  willing  to  help  themselves. 


320  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

These  philanthropists  saw  with  what  appalling  pressure  the 
superincumbent  weight  of  society  bore  down  upon  the  crimi- 
nal mass  below  it.  They  saw,  therefore,  the  necessity  of 
providing  work  and  a  fair  chance  for  convicts,  who,  having 
completed  their  term  of  sentence,  too  often  found  themselves 
distrusted,  isolated,  and  unable  to  obtain  employment,  and 
finally  driven  back  to  their  old  haunts  and  their  old  ways. 

Another  purpose  of  the  association,  never  lost  sight  of, 
was  the  improvement  of  the  condition  of  prisoners,  whether 
awaiting  trial,  detained  as  witnesses,  or  finally  convicted. 

When  Mrs.  Gibbons  began  her  weekly  visits  to  the  Tombs 
she  found  mere  children  —  arrested  for  vagrancy  or  held  to 
give  evidence,  —  herded  with  the  most  abandoned  criminals. 
She  found  young  girls,  accused  of  trifling  offences,  exposed 
to  the  companionship  of  the  lowest  of  their  sex,  and  decent 
men,  more  unfortunate  than  vicious,  breathing  the  tainted  air 
of  hideous  immorality. 

Through  her  instrumentality  new  rules  provided  a  separate 
shelter  for  the  children,  and  made  some  sort  of  discrimination 
between  the  various  grades  of  crime.  She  inquired  into  the 
previous  life  and  associations  of  the  female  prisoners, 
admonishing  the  dissolute,  and  encouraging  the  remorseful. 
She  lightened  the  utter  cheerlessness  of  prison  life  with  the 
hope  of  better  days  to  come.  Felons  besought  her  kindness 
for  their  families,  and  murderers  in  the  condemned  cells  sent 
for  her  to  counsel  and  assist  them. 

Yet  with  all  her  sympathy  she  had  her  father's  shrewd  and 
sceptical  judgment.  No  sham  repentence,  no  interested 
piety,  no  fictitious  distresses,  imposed  upon  her  for  an  instant. 
She  had  no  sentimental  counsels  for  wrong-doers.  Hard 
work,  indomitable  perseverance,  patient  endurance  of  distrust 
and  harsh  judgment,  she  set  before  them  as  the  hard  condi- 
tions of  readmission  to  the  world  of  decent  living. 

A  very  brief  experience  among  these  prisoners  convinced 
her  that  the  women  must  have  some  refuge  in  which  they 
would  be  safe  from  temptation  on  leaving  prison.  Helped 
by  a  few  other  zealous  souls,  she  established  for  them  the 


1.    CHRISTIAN  WORK  AMONG  CONVICTS  AND   FELONS. — MRS.  GIBBONS   VISITING  A 

CONDEMNED  MURDERER  IN  ins  CELL  AT  THE   NEW   YORK  TOMBS. 

2.    CASTAWAY  CHILDREN.— CHILD-LIFE  IN  CITY  STREETS. 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  321 

"Isaac  T.  Hopper  Home,"  on  Tenth  Avenue,  one  of  the 
most  useful  and  modest  of  the  many  charitable  institutions  of 
New  York. 

"  A  few  young  women,"  said  the  directors,  in  one  of 
their  reports,  "  may  occasionally  be  found  there, — strangers 
in  the  country,  wanderers  from  their  natural  homes,  who, 
alone  and  friendless  in  this  great  city,  have  fallen,  not 
from  vicious  propensities,  but  through  sheer  misfortune  ;  and 
a  few  there  are,  whom  we  have  also  found  in  your  prisons, 
the  victims  of  wrong,  suspicion  and  helplessness.  All  these, 
after  a  short  novitiate,  we  have  restored  to  decent  life  and 
productive  industry.  Some  of  our  inmates  are  from  Sing 
Sing, — convicts,  who  have  been  sent  there  for  the  lighter 
class  of  crimes  so  punishable ;  but  by  far  the  greater  part  is 
from  the  Tombs  or  Blackwell's  Island — persons  committed 
for  petty  offences,  or  merely  for  vagrancy.  These  are  the 
victims  of  intemperance." 

During  the  forty  years  existence  of  the  Home,  more  than 
two-thirds  of  the  women  received  —  many  hundreds  in  all  — 
have  been  restored  to  honorable  and  useful  lives,  some  of 
them  marrying  and  making  good  wives  and  mothers,  others 
working  faithfully  in  factories  or  families.  Of  the  remaining 
third,  a  few  have  been  sent  to  hospitals  or  almshouses,  and 
a  few,  as  was  inevitable,  have  returned  to  their  old  life. 

While  in  the  Home  the  women  work  diligently  with  a  view 
to  acquiring  those  habits  of  industry,  neatness,  and  thrift 
which  must  be  their  sole  future  capital.  And  it  is  a  touching 
testimony  to  its  usefulness  that,  among  the  contributions 
received  for  the  support  of  the  institution,  there  often  comes 
a  mite  from  some  former  inmate.  Once  a  gift  of  twenty 
dollars  was  received,  with  the  message  that  it  had  been 
honestly  earned  by  hard  work,  and  was  given  "  as  an  act  of 
faith." 

Yet,  though  thus  responding  in  heart  and  deed  to  the 
sighing  of  the  prisoner,  Mrs.  Gibbons  always  has  believed 
the  prevention  of  crime  and  degradation  to  be  the  true  policy 
of  society.  Placing  the  children  of  the  very  poor,  and  es- 


322  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

pecially  the  children  of  foreign  parentage,  under  better 
influences  than  their  wretched  homes  supplied,  she  considered 
the  first  essential  of  an  improved  social  order.  It  seems,  in 
looking  over  scores  of  records,  as  if  every  effort  in  this  direc- 
tion had  had  her  sympathy  and  help.  For  twelve  years,  a  term 
of  arduous  labor,  she  was  president  of  a  German  Industrial 
School  for  street  children.  The  parents  had  come,  usually, 
from  small  villages,  where  they  and  their  ancestors  had  lived 
and  toiled  on  the  same  spot,  and  in  the  same  way,  for  gen- 
erations. Driven  from  this  narrow  round  by  hard  necessity, 
they  found  themselves,  for  the  first  time  in  their  lives, 
inhabitants  of  a  city,  and  without  money,  language,  or 
friends.  Unskilled  in  any  trade,  they  lived  by  keeping  beer- 
shops,  or  by  the  lower  callings  of  scavenger  or  rag-picker. 
Herded  together,  and  easily  tempted  and  deceived  in  scenes 
so  strange,  it  was  inevitable  that  they  should  fall  into  greater 
misery  than  they  had  left.  Even  sunshine  and  fresh  air  were 
too  costly  for  them,  for  in  a  room  nine  feet  by  fourteen, 
whose  one  small  window  looked  out  upon  a  noisome  alley, 
it  was  a  common  thing  to  find  a  family  of  thirteen  persons, 
sleeping,  working,  living — or  dying.  The  children  were 
driven  into  the  streets  for  air  and  elbow-room,  and  the  way, 
through  vagrancy,  to  the  city  prison,  was  pitifully  short. 

It  was  not  pleasant  work,  nor  easy,  to  gather  pupils  of  this 
order,  and  teach  them  something  more  of  American  ideas  and 
Christian  practice  than  they  were  likely  to  learn  from  native 
vagrants  or  police  regulations. 

The  school  opened  with  seven  reluctant  students.  In  four 
months  one  hundred  and  two  names  stood  on  the  register, 
and  fifty  or  sixty  abecedarians  came  regularly.  Nineteen  of 
them  were  so  well  connected  that  they  could  have  a  dinner, 
such  as  it  was,  at  home.  The  rest  received  a  bowl  of  soup 
and  plenty  of  bread  in  the  school-room,  sixteen  hundred  and 
eighteen  of  these  "  Christian  evidences  "  being  thus  set  forth, 
at  an  average  cost  of  two  cents  and  a  fraction  each.  The 
children  earned  the  garments  they  received  by  good  marks, 
which  represented  pennies.  Begging  and  indiscriminate  giving 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  323 

were  discouraged,  as  injurious  to  the  thrift,  industry,  and 
honest  pride,  which  generally  characterize  the  Germans. 

A  lady  who  visited  the  school  on  one  of  its  annual  exami- 
nation days  thus  wrote  of  it :  "  You  should  have  attended 
our  matinee.  It  was  more  entertaining  than  the  opera 
troupe's.  The  audience  was  small,  to  be  sure,  and  undeniably 
dowdy.  Those  eccentric  persons  who  give  all  their  leisure 
and  most  of  their  money  to  help  the  helpless  over  the  hard 
places  of  life  do  not,  as  a  rule,  recognize  the  vast  importance 
of  English  tailors  and  French  dressmakers  in  the  scheme  of 
human  existence.  A  Quaker-like  simplicity  prevailed,  not  to 
mention  a  certain  meagreness,  as  shown  in  the  whitened 
seams  of  ancient  overcoats,  and  the  experienced  air  of  bon- 
nets, several  seasons  old.  I  do  not  remember  seeing  a  single 
jewel,  save  that  quaint  decoration  that  St.  Paul  admired  — 
the  ornament  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit,  which  was  very 
generally  worn  by  those  present  —  most  of  them  helpers  in 
and  workers  for  the  school. 

"  The  fifty  performers  were  in  full  dress,  of  course.  The 
richest  costume  was  a  frock  of  vivid  blue  calico,  trimmed 
with  pink  galloon,  worn  above  red  woollen  stockings,  and 
copper-toed  shoes.  This  simple  and  elegant  toilet  was  har- 
monized by  a  yellow  flannel  sack,  and  green  ribbons,  tying  pale 
flaxen  hair.  Naturally,  such  splendor  could  not  be  general. 
The  majority  appeared  in  scanty  raiment,  evidently  descended 
through  a  long  line  of  previous  possessors.  This  entail, 
though  adding  the  dignity  of  history  to  each  forlorn  relic,  had 
the  usual  disadvantage  of  entails  —  that  it  did  not  consider 
the  peculiar  needs  of  the  heir.  Hence,  an  imposing  array  of 
misfitting  gowns  and  shoes  distracted  attention  at  first  from 
the  more  serious  misfit  of  circumstances  in  which  the  little 
creatures  seemed  invested.  For  at  their  age  such  atoms 
ought  to  be  playing  with  dolls  and  soap-bubbles. 

"This  school-room  life  is  happiness,  however,  compared 
with  any  other  possible  to  these  children.  They  have  been 
gathered  by  kind  women  from  the  habitations  which  house 
the  most  dangerous  ignorance  —  the  ignorance  which  does  not 


324  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

value  knowledge.  They  would  be  selling  matches  and  pins, 
begging,  sweeping  the  crossings,  if  they  were  not  in  school. 
Most  of  them,  indeed,  pursue  one  or  other  of  these  trades 
after  school-hours.  But  in  class  they  are  taught  sewing  and 
like  industries,  reading,  singing,  the  simpler  elementary 
branches,  and  the  virtues  of  cleanliness,  order,  civility,  and 
truthfulness.  They  bring  slow  brains  to  the  learning,  the 
legacy  of  generations  of  dull  disuse.  But  their  wise  teacher 
does  not  hinder  their  progress  with  fetters  of  rules. 

' '  Her  system  of  object-teaching  is  most  successful.  And  the 
sharp  attention  which  the  whole  school  paid  to  a  blossoming 
rose-tree,  and  the  thoroughness  with  which  its  nomenclature 
and  functions  were  learned  —  an  examination,  at  the  end  of 
twenty  minutes,  proving  that  each  child  knew  the  name  and 
use  of  every  part  of  the  fragrant  wonder  —  seemed  to  show 
that  the  system  of  primary  instruction  from  books  alone  is 
all  awry. 

"Here,  as  everywhere,  it  is  the  first  step  which  costs. 
These  charity  children  have  taken  that  step  in  learning  to 
use  their  eyes,  their  understandings,  their  powers  of  com- 
parison. All  the  rest  follows  if  they  have  but  opportunity. 
And  these  fifty  little  foreign  dullards  are  already  on  the 
straight  road  that  leads  to  intelligent  American  citizenship." 

Another  charity  dear  to  the  heart  of  Mrs.  Gibbons,  and 
for  many  years  an  exacting  consumer  of  time  and  labor,  was 
the  Infant  Asylum.  But  no  other  work  among  children  has 
been  more  fruitful  of  relief  and  happiness  than  her  self- 
appointed  mission  among  the  waifs  and  strays  of  Randall's 
Island. 

On  that  lovely  islet,  in  the  East  River,  are  gathered  ten 
or  twelve  hundred  children  of  the  city  poor  —  the  motley 
drift  washed  upon  those  quiet  shores  by  the  storm  and  wreck 
of  city  sin.  Some  of  them  are  nameless  babies,  born  of 
unknown  fathers  and  miserable  mothers,  at  the  city  hos- 
pital of  Bellevue.  Some  are  boys  and  girls  given  up  by 
their  parents  on  account  of  the  poverty  which  waits  on 
intemperance  or  crime.  Some  are  the  half-orphan  children 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  325 

of  those  whose  occupations  make  it  impossible  to  care  for 
them  at  home ;  cooks,  seamen,  soldiers,  and  the  like,  who 
pay  from  three  to  five  dollars  a  month.  Some  are  foundlings 
abandoned  in  the  streets  of  the  great  city. 

Of  the  twelve  great  buildings  on  the  island,  composing  the 
city  of  refuge  for  these  oppressed,  that  which  first  receives 
them  is  the  Quarantine  Hospital.  Here  they  are  detained 
till  it  is  certain  that  they  bring  no  contagious  disease  from 
foul  rookeries  and  cellars.  After  this  probation  they  are 
transferred  to  the  Boys'  School,  the  Girls'  School,  or,  sadly 
often,  to  the  Sick  Hospital  or  the  Idiot  Asylum.  Babies  are 
.kept  in  the  Foundling  Hospital  till  they  are  four  years  of  age 
before  being  assigned  to  the  school  departments.  In  these 
schools  the  children  are  well  taught  in  the  same  branches 
which  the  ward-schools  of  the  city  prescribe. 

In  time  many  of  them  are  adopted,  and  the  rest  bound 
out  to  responsible  persons,  who  guarantee  their  support. 
Even  then  they  are  regularly  visited  by  trustees  twice  a 
year,  and  if  any  are  ill-treated  or  subjected  to  evil  influences, 
they  are  brought  back  to  the  institution,  to  be  reapprenticed 
under  better  conditions. 

In  the  Idiot  School  there  are,  perhaps,  one  hundred 
teachable  and  fifty  hopeless  idiots  —  children  of  foreign 
parents  almost  without  exception.  When  these  poor  crea- 
tures come,  most  of  them  can  discern  no  difference  between 
white  and  black,  between  a  circle  and  a  square,  nor  can  they 
articulate  an  intelligible  sound.  Under  patient,  tireless,  re- 
repeated  drill  they  learn  to  talk,  to  sing,  even  to  write  and 
cipher.  More  than  these,  they  learn  to  put  off  the  beast 
nature,  and  put  on  the  human,  gaining  perceptions  more  or 
less  clear  of  the  need  of  decency  in  behavior. 

In  the  Sick  Hospital  there  are  seldom  fewer  than  two 
hundred  and  fifty  children,  from  two  years  old  to  fifteen. 
They  suffer  from  almost  every  known  disease ;  many  of  them 
enduring  chronic  maladies  which  have  maimed  or  lamed 
them  for  life.  All  are  the  victims  of  parental  vices,  or  of  that 
early  exposure  to  cold,  want,  and  hardship  which  saps  the 


326  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

springs  of  life.  Of  the  vast  mortality  among  them,  by  far 
the  greater  portion  occurs  during  the  few  months  following 
their  arrival,  and  among  the  youngest  children.  A  very 
brief  residence  on  the  island,  with  its  pure  air,  good  food, 
and  cleanly  habits,  wonderfully  improves  the  condition  of  the 
frail  little  creatures. 

Neatness,  order,  and  system  are  the  law  of  the  place. 
Physicians,  matrons,  attendants,  teachers,  servants,  are  kind 
to  their  troublesome  charges,  and  astonishingly  patient. 
Contrasted  with  any  life  they  have  known,  or  can  know, 
elsewhere,  the  comfort  and  security  of  this  fill  the  measure  of 
well-being,  and  promise  a  decent  and  useful  future.  Its 
great  Nursery,  taken  for  all  in  all,  is  an  institution  of  which 
the  city  may  well  be  proud. 

And  yet,  there  are  few  sadder  sights  under  the  sun  than 
these  ranks  on  ranks  of  unchildish  children,  careworn  and 
anxious  so  far  beyond  their  years.  Even  the  babies  in  the 
tidy  nursery-house,  where  they  are  well  fed,  well  clothed 
and  tended,  seem  to  look  out  upon  life  with  a  dreary  resigna- 
tion, dumbly  pleading  for  that  brooding  mother-love  which  is 
never  to  enfold  them.  And  in  the  refectory,  to  see  seven 
hundred  children  —  four  hundred  in  one  room  and  three 
hundred  in  another  —  form  themselves  into  ranks  before  the 
tables  at  a  given  signal ;  drop  their  eyes  and  bow  their 
heads  simultaneously  at  a  second  signal ;  repeat  aloud  in 
singsong  chorus  an  arbitrary  "  grace  "  at  a  third ;  and  at  a 
fourth,  fall  to  work  with  spoon,  knife,  and  fork,  silent  as 
mutes,  and  obedient  as  machines,  is  to  feel  how  drearily  the 
automaton-like  precision  and  regularity  of  life  in  such  a  place 
as  this  —  inevitable,  indispensable  as  they  may  be  —  press 
down  upon  the  natural  joyousness  and  spontaneity  of  childhood. 

Years  ago  Mrs.  Gibbons,  visiting  the  island  in  her  kindly 
round  of  duty,  and  reading  the  dumb,  pathetic  appeal  in 
these  young-old  faces,  said  to  herself ,  "  What  these  children 
need  is  pleasure.  They  have  care  and  kindness.  They  want 
to  feel  that  they  are  persons,  standing  in  a  human  relation  to 
other  persons,  not  mere  unrelated  members  in  the  sum-total 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  327 

of  an  'Institution.'"  And  she  resolved  that  when  the 
approaching  Christmas  should  bring  its  message  of  good-will, 
every  sick  child,  at  least,  and  as  many  more  as  could  be  pro- 
vided for,  should  be  comforted  with  a  doll  or  a  book. 
Benevolent  friends  gladly  helped.  They  appealed,  through  the 
newspapers,  for  contributions  of  sample  cards,  scraps  of  gay 
merino,  silk,  or  ribbon,  or  gifts  of  dolls,  books,  or  money  to  buy 
them.  A  week  before  Christmas  a  committee  of  ladies  met  at 
Mrs.  Gibbons'  house,  one  bleak  and  boisterous  afternoon,  and 
worked  from  three  o'clock  to  ten,  to  dress  the  dolls.  Other 
ladies,  hearing  of  the  matter,  sent  for  dolls  to  dress  at  home. 
And  when  Christmas  morning  came,  and  the  fairy  godmother, 
with  a  few  attending  fairies  —  by  no  means  young,  and  very 
plain  in  raiment,  —  started  to  spend  the  day  at  Randall's 
Island,  the  fairy  gifts  filled  great  clothes'-baskets. 

First  to  be  remembered  were  the  sick  children  in  the 
Hospital,  so  old,  so  careworn,  so  indifferent  to  life  !  But  they 
were  not  indifferent  to  the  joy  of  possessing  something  for 
their  very  own.  Boys,  as  well  as  girls,  begged  for  a  doll, 
save  a  few  who  were  old  enough  to  prefer  a  book.  They 
hugged,  and  kissed,  and  laughed  over  their  new  treasures. 
One  poor  little  creature,  dying,  and  already  sightless,  pressed 
her  baby  to  her  pallid  face,  and  smiled  with  joy.  "  Good  doll," 
she  whispered,  and  tenderly  kissed  it.  They  were  the  last 
words  she  uttered.  In  the  Quarantine  nursery  the  children 
danced  for  joy  over  their  gifts.  Even  the  slow  idiot-minds, 
prisoned,  not  housed,  in  their  torpid  bodies,  felt  pleasure, 
most  of  them,  and  manifested  gratitude. 

It  was  a  simple  thing  enough,  the  impulse  of  one  motherly 
heart,  the  labor  of  a  few  kindly  hands,  the  expenditure  of  a 
trifling  sum.  But  the  happiness  it  brought  was  so  obvious 
and  abundant  that  the  visit  became  a  custom,  and  to  this  day 
the  doll  festival  is  yearly  celebrated.  Other  persons  grew 
interested,  and  Christmas  trees,  with  glittering  fruitage,  now 
spring  in  that  arid  soil. 

Going  these  rounds  year  after  year,  Mrs.  Gibbons  had 
often  noticed  a  pale  scrap  of  humanity,  Robert  Denyer  by 


328  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

name,  the  appealing  sadness  of  whose  face  touched  her 
kindly  heart.  He  was  but  a  stepchild  of  generous  Nature ; 
high-shouldered,  humpbacked,  with  neck  awry,  and  chest 
misshaped,  and  with  that  weird  look  of  old  age  so  often  seen 
in  the  countenances  of  the  deformed.  In  stature  he  was  a 
child  of  eight,  in  age  a  lad  of  thirteen,  in  experience  of 
sorrow  a  man.  Year  after  year  the  good  boys,  — with  whom 
alone  he  would  consort,  —  sturdy,  strong-limbed,  capable 
fellows,  were  selected  for  adoption  or  apprenticeship,  and  he 
was  left  behind.  He  was  a  good  scholar,  in  his  way,  and 
clever  with  tools  ;  but  these  talents  were  not  marketable,  and 
nobody  wanted  the  deformed  dwarf. 

One  blessed  day  the  faithful  visitor,  whom  all  the  children 
believed  to  be  a  saint,  stopped  at  his  chair,  and  said,  "  Robert, 
I  believe  thee  is  an  honest  boy.  Would  thee  like  to  make 
me  a  visit,  and  do  me  a  service  at  the  same  time  ?  We  are 
going  to  hold  a  fair  for  the  benefit  of  the  '  Home,'  and  thee 
would  make  an  excellent  doorkeeper.  Thee  can  reckon 
money,  and  give  change  quickly,  and  answer  questions  well, 
lam  sure.  Would  thee  like  it?"  Like  it!  The  heavens 
seemed  opening  to  the  excited  fancy  of  the  child.  To  be 
trusted,  to  be  useful,  to  make  a  visit  in  the  house  wrhich  he 
imagined  the  most  beautiful  in  the  world,  —  for  did  not  such 
inexhaustible  gifts  and  kindnesses  pour  out  of  it,  —  he  felt  that 
life  could  hold  no  higher  joy. 

The  little  custodian  justified  her  trust.  So  smiling,  so 
happy,  so  helpful  a  manikin  was  never  placed  on  duty. 
Visitors  came  and  came  again  for  the  pure  pleasure 
of  seeing  his  delight  in  receiving  another  shilling  for  the 
"  Home,"  and,  hearing  his  pathetic  story  from  his  friend 
within,  bought  more  than  one  trifle,  to  be  laid  aside  for  him. 
But  when  the  joyous  excitement  was  over,  and  the  homeless 
little  fellow  had  to  face  the  bleak  necessity  of  returning  to  the 
island,  his  unspoken  repugnance  to  the  place  was  more  than 
his  hostess  could  bear. 

She  sent  for  her  brother,  a  busy  lawyer  in  the  city,  and 
always  her  ready  right-hand  and  helper  in  good  works,  and 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  329 

said  to  him :  "  John,  I  have  a  testimony  for  thee.  This 
Eobert  is  no  common  child.  Where  he  could  have  gotten 
them,  I  don't  know,  but  he  has  the  instincts  and  even  the 
habits  of  gentle  breeding.  He  is  conscientious,  modest, 
truthful,  and  clean  of  speech.  He  is  fond  of  music,  and 
pictures,  and  flowers.  Thee  can  imagine  what  it  must  have 
cost  such  a  child  to  live  in  the  Institution.  I  should  keep 
him  if  I  had  the  time  and  means  to  do  him  justice.  Now7 
thee  has  both,  and  thee  has  a  kind-hearted  wife,  and  a  big 
house.  And  I  think  it  is  the  Lord's  plain  will  that  thee 
should  take  him,  and  bring  him  up  with  thy  own  child,  and 
as  thy  own  child." 

"If  thee  think  so,  Abby,  doubtless  thee  is  right," 
answered  her  brother.  "I  will  do  as  thee  desires." 

From  that  moment  the  homeless  child  found  a  home  not 
only  in  an  abode  which  delighted  his  starved  sense  of  beauty, 
but  in  a  heart  which  gave  him  fatherly  tenderness  and  care. 
In  every  way  he  was  treated  as  a  child  of  the  house,  and  the 
family  name  was  added  to  his  own.  His  health  was  delicate, 
the  vital  organs  laboring  heavily  to  do  their  work  in  his  poor 
misshapen  body.  Because  it  fatigued  him  to  walk,  Mr. 
Hopper  bought  a  goat-carriage,  whose  gay  equipments  were  his 
delight.  Because  he  could  not  go  to  school,  private  lessons 
were  arranged  for  him.  But,  though  told  that  he  might  do 
so,  the  lad,  with  that  singular  delicacy  which  characterized 
him,  never  called  his  kind  protectors  "father"  or  "mother." 

"I  could  not  love  them  more  if  they  were  fifty  parents," 
he  said  to  his  teacher,  "  but  I  think  it  is  better  for  them  and 
for  Willy  that  I  should  say  '  Mr.'  and  '  Mrs.' "  "  Willy  "  was 
the  only  child,  a  beautiful  boy  of  two  or  three,  to  whom 
Eobert  showed  a  passionate  devotion  which  never  tired  in  his 
service,  and  which  was  ardently  reciprocated. 

So  sunny,  so  sweet,  so  helpful  a  presence  in  the  household 
was  the  quiet  little  figure,  so  loving  in  his  ways,  so  high- 
minded  and  unselfish,  that  he  gave  as  much  as  he  received. 
"Thee  might  spare  us,  Bob,  but  we  couldn't  spare  thee,"  Mr. 
Hopper  used  to  say,  taking  the  lad  in  his  strong  arms,  when 


330  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

he  was  worn  and  discouraged.  And  the  pinched  little  face 
would  glow  with  pleasure.  He  had  a  regular  and  generous 
allowance  of  money,  that  he  might  not  feel  dependent,  but  he 
spent  all  his  little  wealth  in  presents  for  the  family,  or  for 
some  of  the  comrades  he  had  left  on  the  island.  And  when 
he  had  permission  to  invite  one  or  two  of  these  to  visit  him, 
and  to  go  to  the  theatre,  as  his  guests,  he  confided  to  his 
teacher  that  he  thought  he  must  have  experienced  all  the 
happiness  that  this  world  could  offer. 

He  could  not  live  long  with  the  entire  machinery  of  exist- 
ence out  of  gear.  Four  happy  years  of  love  and  home  were 
his,  and  then,  tired  out  with  the  vain  effort  to  live,  and  glad 
to  be  relieved,  he  laid  down  the  heavy  burden  of  mortality. 
In  constant  pain,  he  never  complained,  and  always  answered, 
"better,  thank  you,"  when  asked  how  he  was  feeling. 

During  his  last  illness  some  unspoken  anxiety  seemed  to 
trouble  him,  and  one  day  when  they  two  were  alone  together, 
he  whispered,  "Mr.  Hopper,  where  shall  I  be  buried?" 

"Beside  me,  my  dear,  dear  child,"  answered  that  tender 
spirit,  and  from  that  hour  the  sick  boy  was  serenely  tranquil. 

He  was  laid  to  rest  in  the  family  lot  in  Greenwood,  and 
when,  but  a  few  months  afterwards,  Mr.  Hopper  suddenly 
died,  in  the  very  prime  of  his  beautiful  life  of  blessing  and 
bounty,  the  grave  was  widened,  and  the  two  sleep  side  by  side. 

When  the  war  broke  out  new  work  devolved  upon  the 
busy  hands,  which  seemed  already  over-full.  For  the  first 
six  months  there  was  much  to  do  at  home  in  organizing 
Relief  Associations  for  the  soldiers.  But  in  November, 
1861,  Mrs.  Gibbons,  with  her  eldest  daughter,  went  to  the 
front.  First  entering  the  Patent  Office  Hospital,  at  Washing- 
ton, they  worked  early  and  late  to  evolve  order,  system,  and 
comfort  from  the  prevailing  chaos. 

The  capital  at  that  time  was  a  vast  camp,  environed  by 
fortifications,  the  many  divisions,  brigades,  and  regiments 
scattered  over  a  wide  area,  each  with  its  larger  or  smaller 
hospital,  half-organized,  insufficient,  and  crowded  with  sick 
and  suffering  men  not  yet  inured  to  the  hardships  of  army  life. 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  331 

Driving  one  day  with  a  friend,  for  a  brief  rest,  to  Falls 
Church,  ten  miles  below  the  city,  Mrs.  Gibbons  found  herself 
in  a  small  encampment  of  New  York  troops,  their  hospital 
containing  about  forty  men,  most  of  them  dangerously  ill  with 
typhoid  fever.  One  of  these,  hardly  more  than  a  lad,  wasted 
to  a  shadow,  and  too  weak  for  the  slightest  movement,  fixed 
his  eager,  restless  eyes  upon  the  compassionate  face  bent  above 
him,  and  whispered,  "  Come  and  take  care  of  me.  If  you  do 
not  I  shall  die."  It  was  impossible  for  the  busy  nurse  to 
stay.  It  was  terrible  to  refuse.  But  she  went  back  to  duty, 
carrying  a  memory  of  such  need  and  wretchedness  as  she 
had  not  before  encountered,  and  feeling  that  this  must  be  her 
place.  Falls  Church  was  in  a  disaffected  and  dangerous 
neighborhood ;  no  woman  had  ever  entered  its  hospital ;  the 
only  nurses  were  ignorant  and  blundering  men,  and  the 
death-rate  was  appalling. 

As  soon  as  she  could  transfer  her  charge  Mrs.  Gibbons 
returned,  with  her  daughter,  to  the  fever  hospital.  The 
young  volunteer  was  still  living,  but  too  feeble  to  speak. 
Again  his  eyes  seemed  to  implore  her  care.  The  surgeon-in- 
charge  was  ready  to  accept  the  services  of  the  ladies,  but 
said  that  there  was,  literally,  not  a  roof  which  would  shelter 
them.  At  last,  the  offer  of  five  dollars  a  week  induced  a 
neighboring  pr  saloon-keeper  "  to  allow  them  the  use  of  a  loft, 
floored  with  unplaned  planks,  and  furnished  with  a  bedstead, 
and  a  barrel,  which  served  as  table  and  toilet-stand.  There 
were  then  thirty-nine  patients  in  the  hospital,  six  lying  un- 
buried  in  the  dead-house.  Two  or  three  others  died.  But 
when  the  nurses  left,  six  weeks  later,  all  the  rest  had  rallied 
sufficiently  to  bear  removal  save  three,  who  were  slowly 
convalescing.  The  young  fellow  who  had  fastened  his  hope 
of  life  on  their  coming  had  been  able  to  return  to  his  home  at 
Penn  Yan,  and  eventually  he  recovered. 

From  Falls  Church  the  indefatigable  nurses  went  to  the 
Seminary  Hospital,  at  Winchester,  devoted  to  the  worst 
cases  of  wounds.  Four  months  in  the  constant  service  of 
pain  here  were  followed  by  a  term  at  Strasburg,  where  they 


332  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

were  involved  in  the  famous  retreat  from  that  place,  the 
enemy  seizing  the  town,  and  holding  even  the  hospital  nurses 
prisoners,  till  the  main  body  of  their  army  had  secured  its 
escape  southward. 

Point  Lookout,  Maryland,  was  the  next  post  of  these  tire- 
less women,  —  that  vast  caravansary  of  sick  and  wounded, 
of  released  prisoners  and  destitute  contrabands,  which  was, 
in  some  respects,  the  most  sorrowful  and  awful  of  those  wide- 
spreading  encampments  of  misery  known  as  the  hospital 
service.  Here,  through  summer  heat  and  winter  cold,  cook- 
ing, nursing,  encouraging  the  sick  or  comforting  the  dying, 
they  had  labored  for  fifteen  months,  when  news  of  the  draft 
riots  in  New  York  summoned  them  home. 

On  Monday,  July  13,  1863,  a  mob  attacked  the  office  of 
the  provost-marshal,  where  the  drawing  of  names  for  the 
conscription  was  in  progress,  assaulted  the  officers  in  charge, 
scattered  the  enrolment  lists,  and  burned  the  building  to  the 
ground.  Growing  in  numbers  and  excitement,  and  finding 
a  recruiting  station  in  every  drinking-shop,  the  howling  horde 
spread  itself  over  the  town,  pillaging  and  burning  as  it  went. 
For  four  days  the  great  city  lay  helpless  under  this  reign  of 
terror.  The  militia  companies  were  at  the  front.  The  police, 
brave  and  faithful  as  they  proved,  were  too  few  in  numbers 
to  cope  with  the  insurgent  multitude.  Street-cars  and  stages 
were  stopped.  Unarmed  citizens  barricaded  themselves  within 
their  homes  and  places  of  business,  going  out  stealthily  and 
in  old  clothes.  All  trade  was  at  an  end  except  the  trade  in 
liquor,  and  a  portentous  stillness  pervaded  the  town,  save 
where  the  yells  and  curses  of  the  drunken  mob,  hounding  to 
death  some  harmless  negro,  or  threatening  mischief  to  some 
obnoxious  citizen,  broke  the  appalling  silence.  By  night  the 
sky  was  red  with  the  glare  of  burning  buildings,  and  every 
hour  the  fire-bells  sounded  the  vain  alarm  which  the  incen- 
diaries forbade  the  firemen  to  obey. 

The  "  Tribune "  newspaper  was  especially  hateful  to  the 
mob,  from  its  vigorous  support  of  the  war  and  the  odious 
draft-measure.  Its  office  was  attacked,  but  found  too  strongly 


THE  REIGN  OF  TERROR  DURING  THE   DRAFT  RIOTS  IN  NEW  YORK. — THE  INFURIATED 
MOB  ATTACKING  MRS.  GlBBON's  HOUSE.       2.    THE  ToMBS,  THE  ClTY  PRISON. 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  333 

guarded  for  that  easy  conquest  which  a  mob  prefers.  It  was 
whispered  about,  however,  that  Mr.  Greeley  lived  in  West 
Twenty-ninth  street,  where  he  might  be  more  safely  pun- 
ished. On  the  afternoon  of  Wednesday  a  motley  crowd, 
made  up,  for  the  most  part,  of  shrieking  beldames  and  half- 
grown  boys,  armed  with  guns,  pistols,  clubs,  staves,  paving- 
stones,  and  knives,  streamed  down  the  quiet  block  called 
Lamartine  Place,  in  search  of  that  kind  and  steadfast  friend 
of  the  ignorant  and  vicious,  whom  they  thought  their  enemy. 
Swaying  uncertainly  to-and-fro,  up  and  down  the  street,  and 
unable  to  identify  Mr.  Greeley's  lodgings,  the  rioters  might 
have  passed  on  without  further  mischief  had  not  a  young 
gutter-snipe,  ambitious  of  distinction,  pointed  out  Mr.  Gib- 
bons' house,  some  doors  further  on,  as  the  doomed  dwelling. 

So  fierce  and  sudden  was  the  assault  that  the  two  young 
daughters,  with  a  servant,  had  hardly  time  to  escape  by  the 
roof  before  the  door  was  battered  in,  the  Windows  broken, 
and  fires  set  in  many  places.  The  arrival  of  the  police  drove 
off  the  mob  for  the  time,  and  neighbors  extinguished  the 
flames.  But  under  cover  pf  night  the  vandals  returned  to 
steal  and  violate. 

When  Mrs.  Gibbons  and  her  daughter  reached  the  place 
that  had  been  home,  havoc  and  devastation  confronted  them. 
The  panels  of  the  doors  were  beaten  in.  Not  a  pane  of  glass 
remained  unbroken.  The  furniture  was  destroyed  or  stolen. 
The  carpets  were  soaked  with  oil  and  filth  and  trampled  into 
ruin  by  the  feet  of  the  struggling  crowd.  On  the  key-board 
of  the  piano  fires  had  been  kindled.  Everywhere  were 
scattered  the  fragments  of  books  and  valuable  letters,  the  cor- 
respondence of  a  lifetime  with  the  great  minds  of  the  country, 
and  all  the  papers  and  remembrances  of  Friend  Hopper,  who 
had  died  under  his  daughter's  roof. 

Eight  years  before  'this  the  irremediable  sorrow  of  their 
lives  had  befallen  that  tender  household,  in  the  sudden  loss 
of  the  only  son  and  brother,  William,  then  a  young  man  at 
college.  In  this  noble  youth  were  garnered  up  the  promise 
and  power  of  generations.  With  rare  mental  capacity  and 
21 


334  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

an  irresistible  social  charm  that  captivated  all  acquaintances, 
he  possessed  a  singular  strength,  sweetness,  and  purity  of 
character.  The  president  of  his  university  lamented  him  as 
the  strongest  influence  for  good  the  college  possessed ;  his 
classmates  mourned  long  and  truly  for  him  as  the  best  of 
good  fellows,  tremendous  in  work  and  tremendous  in  play. 
But  to  his  mother,  his  most  intimate  and  trusted  friend, 
his  death  was  desolation.  From  her  thoughts  he  was  never 
absent.  One  room  in  her  house  was  sacred  to  his  memory, 
where  were  gathered  the  pictures  he  had  loved,  the  gifts  he 
had  received,  the  prizes  he  had  earned,  his  desk  and  books, 
the  thousand  trifles  which  love  consecrates,  and  flowers  daily 
renewed  as  if  upon  an  altar. 

In  this  sanctuary  the  defiling  mob  had  left  nothing  un- 
spoiled, and  this  sacrilege  was  the  only  disaster  which  bowed 
the  heroic  spirit  of  the  mother.  Strange  irony  of  fate  it 
seemed,  that  the  woman  who  had  spent  her  life  in  the  service 
of  the  very  class  which  wrecked  her  home  should  be  the 
allotted  victim  of  their  blind  fury  !  But  she  said  only,  "  It 
was  ignorance  and  rum.  Their  children  must  be  taught 
better." 

The  broken  family  was  reunited  under  her  brother's  roof, 
and,  as  soon  as  she  could  be  spared,  Mrs.  Gibbons,  with  her 
daughter,  Mrs.  Emerson,  returned  to  camp  and  hospital, 
moving  from  post  to  post,  and  remaining  in  service,  with  short 
intervals  of  rest,  till  the  close  of  the  war. 

With  experiences  such  as  these,  and  with  the  burden  c? 
more  than  threescore  years  upon  her  steadfast  shoulders, 
another  woman  might  have  asked  for  rest.  But  the  charitable 
hands  of  this  indomitable  worker  could  not  be  suffered  to  fold 
themselves.  Her  duties  to  the  needy,  the  criminal,  and  the 
unfortunate  were  promptly  resumed,  and  new  obligations 
growing  out  of  the  war  cheerfully  recognized.  Mission 
schools  and  other  helps  were  to  be  maintained  for  the  colored 
refugees,  who,  ignorant,  destitute,  and  miserable,  thronged  the 
city.  The  widows  and  orphans  of  soldiers  were  in  great  need, 
and,  fully  convinced  that  the  prevailing  methods  of  relief 


ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS.  335 

would  tend  to  pauperize  them,  and  that  honest  work  and  honest 
wages  were  far  more  helpful  than  charity,  Mrs.  Gibbons 
organized,  on  a  plan  of  her  own,  a  "  Labor  and  Aid  Associa- 
tion," hiring  for  a  laundry  a  large  house  on  Hudson  street, 
built  by  the  actor,  Burton.  The  noble  apartment  in  which 
that  gentle  genius  gathered  the  first  Shakspearean  library  in 
America,  and  where  he  wrought  out  those  marvels  of  comic 
art  which  once  convulsed  the  town  with  innocent  mirth, 
became  the  mangling-room.  One  could  fancy  the  ghosts  of 
Touchstone  and  Dromio,  of  Bottom  and  Toodles,  peering 
about  in  the  darkness,  and  marvelling  at  the  strange  trans- 
formation. In  another  room  was  the  day-school,  where  little 
creatures  too  young  to  work  were  taught  simple  lessons, 
knitting,  sewing,  basket-making,  and  other  light  handicrafts. 
The  noon-meal  was  furnished  them,  and  they  were  amused 
and  cared  for  while  their  mothers  and  elder  sisters  earned 
the  means  to  keep  a  home  for  them.  A  sewing-room  and 
hospital  chambers  were  to  increase  the  usefulness  of  the 
establishment.  But  the  health  of  the  projector,  seriously 
impaired  by  the  strain  of  army  life  and  domestic  grief,  at 
last  gave  way,  and  the  plan  of  the  association  was  abandoned ; 
not,  however,  till  the  success  of  the  self-helping  system 
was  assured,  and  many  a  woman  put  in  the  way  of  a  comfort- 
able livelihood. 

The  New  York  Diet  Kitchen,  for  the  relief  of  the  sick  poor, 
is  another  charity  which  owes  its  prosperity  largely  to  Mrs. 
Gibbons'  fostering  care.  The  association  has  opened  kitchens 
in  various  tenement-house  regions  of  the  city,  where,  on  the 
requisition  of  physicians,  broth,  milk,  fruit,  meat,  and  other 
nourishments  are  distributed  to  the  sick  who  are  unable  to 
buy  them.  Every  case  of  suffering  reported  to  the  society  is 
carefully  investigated,  and,  in  many  instances,  these  investiga- 
tions lead  to  employment,  and  other  efficient  mitigations  of 
the  miseries  of  the  decent  poor.  The  rate  of  mortality  in  the 
city  has  been  much  diminished  since  these  kitchens  were 
established,  and,  under  the  stimulus  of  proper  food,  those 
who  recover  are  so  improved  in  condition  that  they  work 


336  ABBY  HOPPER  GIBBONS. 

better  and  earn  more.  So  that  the  indirect  benefit  of  the 
kitchens  is  a  greater  thrift  among  the  lower  classes,  as  their 
direct  benefit  is  a  greater  comfort. 

In  so  brief  a  sketch  there  is  not  room  even  to  mention 
efforts  and  experiences,  merely  incidental,  which  in  a  life 
less  busy  than  that  of  Mrs.  Gibbons  would  have  seemed 
pivotal  points.  The  better  education  of  women,  social 
reorganization,  the  amelioration  of  punishments,  the  establish- 
ment of  ragged  schools,  the  relief  of  the  sufferers  in  Kansas, 
Hungarian  liberty,  and  the  victims  of  Austrian  despotism, — 
every  humane  cause  for  more  than  half  a  century  has  appealed 
to  this  philanthropist,  and  none  in  vain. 

It  is  not  a  brilliant  episode  —  these  sixty  years  of  self- 
sacrificing  labor  in  scenes  and  among  people  offending  every 
instinct  of  taste  or  morals.  Yet  humanity  might  better  lose 
the  history  of  its  conquerors  than  the  record  of  heroic  souk 
like  these. 

Such  deeds  are  not  wrought  in  the  sudden  fire  of  a  high 
moment,  but  are -the  slow  result  of  faith  in  human,  nature 
and  long-forbearing  patience.  They  make  frivolity  and 
selfishness  seem  despicable.  They  make  luxurious  worldli- 
ness  appear  the  poor  pretence  it  is.  They  enlarge  belief  in 
the  reach  of  human  virtue. 


CHAPTER  XV. 
JULIA    WAED    HOWE. 

BY  HER  DAUGHTER,  MAUD  HOWE. 

"  Little  Miss  Ward  "  —  The  Influences  that  Surrounded  Her  Early  Life  —  Her 
Education  —  Faculty  for  Acquiring  Languages  —  " Bro.  Sam"— Miss 
Ward's  First  Visit  to  Boston  —  Meets  Dr.  Samuel  G-.  Howe  —  Her  Mar- 
riage—Wedding Trip  to  the  Old  World— Cordial  Keception  by  Famous 
People  —  Declining  Tom  Moore's  Offer  to  Sing  —  Reminiscences  of  Euro- 
pean Travel  — Her  Patriotism  in  the  Days  of  the  Rebellion  —  "  Madame, 
You  Must  Speak  to  My  Soldiers  "— Writing  the  Battle-Hymn  of  the 
Republic  —  The  "Brain  Club" — A  Many-Sided  Woman  —  The  Woman 
Suffrage  Movement  —  Mrs.  Howe  as  a  Public  Speaker  —  Reminiscences  of 
Her  Life  in  Santo  Domingo  — A  Woman  of  Genius  and  Intellect. 

the  year  1819,  in  one  of  the  stateliest  homes  near 
the  Bowling  Green,  then  the1  most  fashionable 
quarter  of  the  city  of  New  York,  there  was  born 
a  little  girl.  The  parents  of  the  child,  Samuel 
Ward  and  Julia  Cutler  Ward,  were  young 
people  in  strong  and  robust  health.  This  little 
girl,  who  was  christened  Julia,  was  the  fourth 
child  which  had  been  sent  to  them.  The  eldest, 
a  son,  bore  his  father's  name.  The  second  child,  a 
daughter,  named  for  her  mother,  died  in  infancy. 
Next  came  Henry,  the  second  son.  A  miniature  painted 
at  about  the  time  of  the  birth  of  this  second  daughter 

o 

represents  Mrs.  Ward  as  a  very  beautiful  young  woman. 
The  likeness  was  made  in  her  twenty-first  year,  and 
portrays  a  graceful,  rounded  figure  and  an  expressive, 
poetic  face.  The  eyes  are  large  and  dark,  the  lips  full 
and  sensitive,  the  brow  high  and  intellectual.  She  came 
of  a  family  somewhat  noted  for  beauty  and  talent,  and 
her  inheritance  in  both  was  remarkable.  Dying  at  the  age 
of  twenty-eight,  she  left  six  children,  all  of  whom  inherited 

337 


338  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

something  of  the  character  and  attraction  which  made  Mrs. 
Ward  one  of  the  most  interesting  women  of  her  time. 

The  little  Julia  was  but  five  years  old  at  the  time  of  her 
mother's  death.  She  was  nevertheless  distinctly  aware  of  her 
loss,  and  still  remembers  with  its  pain  the  lovely  face  whose 
charm  and  comfort  were  so  early  taken  from  her  life. 

Mr.  Ward's  health  had  already  been  somewhat  impaired  by 
his  assiduous  attention  to  business.  The  loss  of  his  beloved 
wife  was  a  blow  which  laid  him  prostrate  on  a  bed  of  sick- 
ness for  many  weeks.  Kecovering  at  length  from  the  shock, 
he  addressed  himself  to  the  task  of  bringing  up  his  motherless 
family,  feeling,  as  he  was  afterwards  wont  to  say,  that  he 
must  now  be  mother  as  well  as  father  to  his  little  ones.  The 
immediate  care  of  these  was  intrusted  to  Miss  Eliza  Cutler, 
an  elder  sister  of  Mrs.  Ward,  who  now  came  to  reside  with 
her  brother-in-law,  and  who  proved  a  most  faithful  guardian 
to  her  sister's  children.  When  little  Julia  was  in  her  tenth 
year  this  aunt  of  hers  was  married  to  Dr.  J.  W.  Francis,  a 
young  physician,  already  eminent,  whose  skill  had  on  one 
occasion  saved  Mr.  Ward's  life,  and  to  whom  he  wras  much 
attached.  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Francis  continued  to  reside  for 
many  years  with  Mr.  Ward,  and  only  left  his  house  when  the 
youngest  of  his  children  had  attained  the  age  of  fourteen 
years.  Mrs.  Francis  was  called  the  wittiest  woman  of  her 
time,  and  the  quick,  sudden  flashes  which  illuminate  the  con- 
versation of  the  niece  recall  the  brilliant  sayings  which  made 
her  aunt  famous. 

Mr.  Ward  was  a  man  of  tall  and  stately  figure,  un- 
impeachable in  character  and  exceptionally  strict  in  his 
views  of  language  and  deportment.  No  smallest  neglect 
of  decorum  was  ever  tolerated  in  his  presence,  nor  did 
he  allow  anything  approaching  to  gossip  or  frivolous 
conversation  to  pass  unreproved  before  him.  He  was  a 
member  of  the  well-known  firm  of  Prime,  Ward,  and  King, 
which  at  that  time  held  a  high  position  in  the  financial  affairs 
of  the  city,  and  was  the  first  president  of  the  Bank  of  Com- 
merce. 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  339 

From  her  earliest  childhood  the  little  Miss  Ward,  —  for  so 
she  was  always  called,  —  showed  signs  of  an  uncommon  mind. 
Her  teachers  were  all  struck  with  her  remarkable  memory 
and  faculty  for  acquiring  languages.  One  of  her  lifelong 
friends,  in  speaking  of  her  youth,  said  to  the  writer  not  long 
since  :  "  Mrs.  Howe  wrote  '  leading  articles '  from  her  cradle." 

The  exaggeration  is  not  so  great  after  all  when  we  find 
that  at  seventeen  Julia  Ward  was  an  anonymous,  but  valued, 
contributor  to  the  "New  York  Magazine,"  then  a  leading 
periodical  in  the  United  States.  Her  youngest  sister  pre- 
serves among  the  most  precious  relics  of  other  days,  a 
charming  poem  of  Mrs.  Howe,  written  when  she  was  sixteen 
years  old,  in  a  careful,  half-formed  hand,  called  "  The  Ill-cut 
Mantle."  The  same  sister,  among  her  many  tender  reminis- 
censes  of  the  days  of  their  early  youth,  tells  the  following  story  : 
One  day  the  young  poet  chanced  upon  her  two  younger  sisters 
busy  in  some  childish  game.  She  upbraided  them  for  their 
frivolous  pursuit,  and  insisted  that  they  should  occupy  them- 
selves as  she  did  in  the  composition  of  verses.  Louisa,  the 
elder  of  the  two,  flatly  refused  to  make  the  effort,  but  the 
little  Annie  dutifully  obeyed  the  elder  sister,  and,  after  a  long 
and  resolute  struggle,  produced  some  stanzas,  of  which  the 
following  lines  have  always  been  remembered  :  — 

"  He  hears  the  ravens  when  they  call, 
And  stands  them  in  a  pleasant  hall." 

Since  then  the  hand  which  wrote  these  lines  has  penned 
many  graceful  verses,  which  unfortunately  have  never  been 
given  to  the  public. 

The  atmosphere  of  Mr.  Ward's  house  was  one  well  calcu- 
lated to  develop  the  talents  of  his  children.  It  was  the  resort 
of  the  most  distinguished  men  of  letters  of  the  day.  One  of 
the  most  prominent  of  these,  Joseph  Greene  Cogswell,  was 
intrusted  with  the  literary  training  of  the  strong  young  mind 
of  Mr.  Ward's  eldest  daughter.  The  girl's  thirst  for  know- 
ledge was  not  to  be  entirely  satisfied  by  the  literature  of  her 
own  language,  and  while  still  very  young  she  became  familiar 


340  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

with  the  German  and  Italian  tongues.  This  early  training  in 
the  European  languages  has  proved  of  the  greatest  value  all  her 
life  through.  Not  only  has  it  given  her  access  to  the  treasure- 
houses  of  the  literature  of  these  languages,  but  the  purity  of 
her  pronunciation  and  the  thoroughness  of  her  knowledge 
have  made  her  at  home  in  European  society. 

Though  a  very  remarkable  child,  Mr.  Ward's  eldest 
daughter  had  nothing  of  the  prodigy  about  her.  The 
father  saw  at  an  early  day  that  hers  was  a  mind  of  un- 
common quality  and  ability,  but  its  growth  and  develop- 
ment, though  precocious,  were  not  abnormal  in  character. 
A  portrait  of  her,  made  when  she  was  about  five  years  old, 
represents  the  little  girl  looking  out  through  a  vine-clad 
window,  a  favorite  kitten  clasped  in  her  arms.  The  face  is 
very  exquisite,  and  has  certain  traits  recognizable  even  now, 
after  the  lapse  of  more  than  half  a  century.  Her  hair,  which 
afterwards  changed  to  a  deep  auburn  color,  was  at  that  time 
unmistakably  red  —  the  color  of  deep-red  gold,  soft  and  fine 
as  the  unspun  silk  of  a  chrysalis.  This  hair,  which  to-day  in 
one  of  her  grandchildren  is  treasured  as  the  greatest  beauty, 
was  made  a  source  of  the  bitterest  mortification  to  the  child. 
From  the  early  impression  that  her  hair  was  a  great  personal 
misfortune  is  to  be  traced  the  singular  lack  of  vanity  which 
has  always  characterized  Mrs.  Howe. 

With  all  her  eagerness  for  study  there  was  no  lack  of 
childishness  about  the  child,  and  one  of  her  first  griefs  was  in 
the  parting  from  her  dolls.  This  heart-rending  separation 
took  place  on  her  ninth  birthday,  whan  her  waxen  darlings 
were  taken  from  her  arms,  and  she  was  told  that  "Miss  Ward 
was  too  old  to  play  with  dolls  any  longer." 

Her  musical  education  was  as  thorough  as  were  the  other 
branches  which  she  pursued.  Her  masters  were  so  much 
impressed  with  her  genius  for  musical  composition  that  she 
was  urged  by  one  of  them  to  devote  the  greater  part  of  her 
time  to  it.  Gifted  with  a  fine,  expressive  voice,  she  sang  her 
own  music  with  a  dramatic  power  which  easily  gave  her  a 
high  place  among  the  amateurs  of  her  time.  Mr.  Ward,  who 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  341 

was  for  those  days  a  very  rich  man,  spared  neither  money 
nor  pains  in  bringing  musicians  to  his  home,  and  the  musical 
evenings  at  the  Bond  Street  house  are  among  the  pleasantest 
memories  of  Mrs.  Howe's  youth.  Here  came  every  Thursday 
evening  the  most  eminent  connoisseurs  of  the  then  small 
society  of  New  York,  and  listened  to  many  excellent  per- 
formances. Miss  Ward  was  at  that  time  a  diligent  student 
of  Beethoven,  Mozart,  and  Hummel,  and  often  played  the 
pianoforte  part  in  the  trios  and  quartets  of  these  composers. 

In  1835  the  eldest  son,  Samuel  Ward,  Jr.,  came  home 
from  Germany,  where  he  had  been  pursuing  his  studies, 
and  where  he  had  first  met  and  travelled  with  Mr.  Long- 

o 

fellow.  A  friendship  was  then  established  between  these  two 
remarkable  men  whose  earthly  bond  was  only  broken  by  the 
death  of  the  poet.  Brother  Sam,  or  Bro.  Sam,  as  he  was 
always  called  by  his  family,  brought  back  with  him  from  his 
long  European  residence  much  that  was  fascinating  to  the 
romantic  mind  of  his  sister,  and  the  intercourse  between 
the  two  has  always  been  one  of  the  most  valued  features 
in  their  lives.  Brimming  over  with  the  poetry,  the  romance, 
the  music  of  Germany,  the  advent  of  this  handsome,  bril- 
liant son,  with  his  fine  tenor  voice,  was  a  great  event  in  the 
somewhat  serious  atmosphere  of  Mr.  Ward's  house,  and  its 
effect  upon  the  mind  of  his  sister  was  very  marked. 

She  now  received  a  strong  impression  of  the  state  and  pro- 
gress of  the  social  world  outside  of  the  limits  within  which 
she  had  been  carefully  trained.  Her  interest  in  German 
literature  was  much  quickened  by  her  brother's  acquaintance 
with  it,  and  her  proficiency  in  the  language  grew  rapidly 
through  frequent  conversations  with  him.  Miss  Ward  was 
greatly  aided  in  her  German  studies  by  Dr.  Cogswell.  The 
influence  of  Teutonic  thought  naturally  modified  in  her  the 
views  derived  from  the  narrow  religious  training  which  she 
had  received. 

The  brother  and  sister  sang  together  the  music  of  the  great 
German  composers,  and  always  conversed  in  the  language, 
which  they  then  preferred  to  all  others.  Mrs.  Howe  has 


342  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

always  preserved  this  early  taste,  and  to-day  a  well-worn 
volume  of  Kant  lies  upon  her  writing-table,  and  is  taken  up 
by  her  for  half  an  hour  every  day.  In  the  twilight  children's 
hour  when  "the  ring  of  jewels,"  her  grandchildren,  gather 
about  her  at  the  piano  and  beg  for  a  song,  it  is  often  one  of 
the  old  studenten-lieder  learned  all  these  years  ago  from 
Bro.  Sam,  that  the  sweet  silver  echo  of  a  voice  sings  for 
them. 

In  the  year  1833,  previous  to  the  return  of  his  son  from 
Germany,  Mr.  Ward  built  his  great  house  on  the  corner  of 
Broadway  and  Bond  street.  When  he  first  removed  his  resi- 
dence to  the  latter  street  he  was  told  that  he  was  going  alto- 
gether out  of  town,  and  that  the  city  would  never  grow  up  to 
his  new  house.  Ten  years  ago,  before  this  house  was  torn 
down,  it  was  a  noticeably  stately  edifice,  standing  by  itself, 
with  a  garden  on  one  side.  It  was  built  in  the  simple,  dig- 
nified style  of  the  time,  of  red  brick,  with  white  marble 
entrance,  steps,  and  columns.  At  that  time  it  made  more  im- 
pression than  do  the  houses  of  all  the  Vanderbilts  on  Fifth 
Avenue  to-day.  The  picture  gallery  was  one  of  the  most 
interesting  apartments  in  the  house.  Mr.  Ward  had  made  a 
very  valuable  collection  of  foreign  pictures  in  order  that  his 
children  might  have  some  knowledge  of  art.  To  this  house, 
which  was  made  attractive  with  every  luxury,  and  graced  by 
three  lovely  daughters,  came  many  men  whose  names  have 
been  identified  with  their  country's  progress.  Of  suitors  for 
the  three  maidens  there  was  no  lack,  but  the  father  was  a 
somewhat  stern  man,  and  dealt  with  all  of  these  summarily. 

The  writer  has  dwelt  on  these  early  days  in  the  life  of  Mrs. 
Howe,  feeling  that  their  influence  was  such  as  greatly  to  affect 
her  later  years.  The  exceptional  education  which  she  re- 
ceived, the  early  formation  of  her  tastes,  the  studious  atmos- 
phere in  which  she  passed  her  first  score  of  years,  laid  the 
foundation  for  the  solid  structure  of  worth  and  attainments 
which  she  has  so  faithfully  builded  into  her  life.  The 
habit  of  study  thus  acquired  has  not  been  lost.  In  all 
her  later  years,  when  the  cares  of  society,  wifehood,  mother- 


JULIA  WARD   HOWE.  343 

hood,  and  public  works,  came  in  turn  to  be  laid  upon  her,  the 
"  precious  time "  to  be  devoted  to  her  books  has  never 
been  relinquished.  In  the  times  when  her  brain  has  been 
most  actively  creative,  she  has  never  let  slip  the  power  of  re- 
ceiving the  thoughts  of  other  minds,  and  the  volume  of 
Kant  has  for  its  companions  the  works  of  the  great  Greek 
and  Latin  authors,  whose  writings  she  peruses  in  the  lan- 
guages in  which  they  were  written.  Translation  is  the  pho- 
tography of  letters.  The  form  of  the  thought  is  preserved, 
but  its  color  is  lost  in  the  process.  Thrice  happy  is  that  per- 
son who  plucks  the  fruit  of  literature  on  the  soil  where  it 
originally  grows,  and  not  in  the  transplanted  garden  of  for- 
eign language. 

In  the  sudden  death  of  her  father,  while  in  the  prime  of 
life,  Julia  Ward  felt  her  first  serious  grief.  She  was  deeply 
attached  to  him,  and  between  the  father  and  daughter  there 
existed  the  closest  affection,  though  the  awe  with  which  she 
had  in  childhood  regarded  her  only  parent  never  quite  left 
her.  After  their  father's  demise  his  children  left  the  great 
house  at  the  corner,  and  went  to  live  with  their  uncle,  Mr. 
John  Ward,  who  proved  a  second  father  to  them  in  the  ten- 
der devotion  which  he  bestowed  upon  them  during  his  life- 
time. 

Not  long  after  the  sad  event  which  left  her  an  orphan  Miss 
Ward  made  the  first  of  a  series  of  visits  to  Boston.  Here  she 
met  Margaret  Fuller,  Horace  Mann,  Charles  Sumner,  Ralph 
Waldo  Emerson,  and  a  man  who  was  of  this  band  of  thinkers 
and  workers,  through  whom  she  was  destined  to  join  their 
ranks.  Dr.  Samuel  G.  Howe  was  the  most  picturesque,  and 
one  of  the  most  prominent  men  of  that  phalanx  of  reformers 
wiiich  came  into  the  world  with  the  new  century,  and  which 
won  for  Massachusetts  the  place  which  she  has  until  lately 
held  undisputed,  of  leadership  in  the  thought  and  progress  of 
the  nation.  Accustomed  to  a  society  of  learned  men  whose 
whole  energy  was  given  to  thought  and  speculation,  what 
wonder  that  the  character  of  the  chivalrous  man  who  thought 
and  worked  out  his  thought  with  an  enthusiasm  and  steady 


344  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

persistence  which  compelled  success,  should  attract  the  sensi- 
tive, romantic  young  girl  who  had  lived  hitherto  in  an  atmos- 
phere of  speculative  thought.  Here  was  a  man  who  theorized 
and  made  his  theories  into  practical  facts. 

The  rare  combination  of  a  passionate,  romantic  nature, 
with  a  strong  executive  power,  and  a  magnetism  which  over- 
came all  those  who  fell  within  its  influence,  made  Dr.  Howe 
a  formidable  rival  to  the  other  suitors  for  the  hand  of  Miss 
Ward.  The  prize  of  which  he  was  all-worthy  was  won  by 
him,  and  in  the  year  1843,  in  the  twenty-fourth  year  of  her 
age,  Julia  Ward  and  Samuel  Howe  were  married. 

The  two  youngest  sisters  were  intrusted  with  all  the  pre- 
paratory arrangements  for  the  marriage,  and  it  was  with  diffi- 
culty that  the  bride-elect  could  be  induced  to  express  a 
preference  as  to  the  material  of  her  wedding  dress,  so  little 
was  her  mind  occupied  with  the  concerns  of  the  wardrobe. 

Shortly  after  their  marriage  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe  made  a 
trip  to  Europe,  accompanied  by  the  bride's  younger  sister, 
Miss  Annie  Ward.  This  wedding  journey  was  the  first 
glimpse  of  the  Old  World  that  the  sisters  had  enjoyed,  and 
has  always  been  remembered  by  them  as  one  of  the  delight- 
ful experiences  of  their  lives. 

The  English  and  American  world  had  then  recently  been 
startled  by  the  story  of  Laura  Bridgman,  as  told  by  Charles 
Dickens  in  his  "  American  Notes."  The  interest  thus  excited  in 
the  English  community  insured  to  Doctor  Howe  and  his  wife 
a  cordial  reception  in  London  society.  At  this  period  Eng- 
lish society  was  in  one  of  its  most  brilliant  epochs,  and  the 
names  of  some  of  the  men  and  women  whose  acquaintance 
Mrs.  Howe  made  at  that  time  have  remained  famous  until 
this  day.  Charles  Dickens,  Thomas  Moore,  John  Forster, 
Sir  Robert  Harry  Inglis,  Samuel  Rogers,  Lord  Morpeth, 
Thomas  Carlyle,  Monckton  Milnes,  the  Duchess  of  Suther- 
land, and  Sydney  Smith,  all  received  the  American  travellers 
with  hospitality.  Sydney  .Smith,  in  alluding  to  Doctor  Howe's 
remarkable  achievement  in  educating  Laura  Bridgman,  spoke 
of  him  as  "  a  modern  Pygmalion  who  had  put  life  into  a  statue." 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  345 

Tom  Moore  was  much  struck  with  the  beauty  and  charm  of 
Miss  Annie  Ward,  whom  he  met  one  night  at  a  dinner-party, 
and  in  his  diary  there  is  a  tribute  to  the  lovely  young  Amer- 
ican girl.  He  asked  Mrs.  Howe  if  he  should  not  come  to 
their  lodgings  and  sing  for  them,  to  which  she  naively  replied 
that  she  regretted  deeply  that  she  had  no  piano  !  Only  too 
late  did  she  realize  the  pleasure  which  she  declined,  and  the 
ease  with  which  the  difficulty  could  have  -  been  obviated  by 
hiring  an  instrument  for  the  occasion. 

After  leaving  England  the  trio  of  travellers  started  for  an 
extensive  tour  on  the  continent.  In  those  days  there  were 
few  railroads.  The  great  tunnel  of  the  Mont  Cenis  had  not 
been  dreamed  of.  The  diligence  or  the  more  luxurious  sys- 
tem of  posting  were  the  only  resources  of  the  traveller.  The 
rapid  tourist  of  to-day  did  not  then  exist.  In  their  own 
comfortable  carriage  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe,  with  their  sister 
Miss  Ward,  made  a  long  journey  through  the  Netherlands 
and  along  the  Rhine  and  Moselle  rivers.  Europe  was  already 
familiar  to  Dr.  Howe,  but  to  the  two  sisters  everything  in  it 
had  the  enchantment  of  a  first  impression.  Many  delightful 
weeks  were  spent  by  the  travellers  in  Switzerland,  Styria, 
the  Tyrol,  and  Southern  Germany.  At  Milan  a  month  was 
passed,  and  many  brilliant  and  interesting  acquaintances  were 
made  through  the  introductions  given  by  Miss  Sedgwick  and 
by  Signor  Castiglia,  whom  Mrs.  Howe  had  known  in  New 
York. 

Every  stage  of  this  journey  had  its  own  measure  of  delight, 
and  each  step  brought  the  pilgrims  nearer  to  Rome.  It  was 
with  a  feeling  of  awe  that  the  young  woman,  poetic,  passion- 
ate, and  full  of  reverence  for  the  t?  golden  heart"  of  the  Old 
World,  approached  the  place  which  she  has  called  "  The  City 
of  my  Love." 

The  poem  of  which  the  title  has  just  been  quoted  is  one  of 
the  loveliest  blossoms  in  the  vivid  garland  of  ' '  Passion  Flow- 
ers "  which  sprang  from  the  heart  of  the  young  poet.  Several 
of  the  verses  here  given  will  show  the  deep  feeling  with  which 
the  Eternal  City  inspired  her :  — 


346  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

"  She  sits  among  the  eternal  hills 

Their  crown  thrice  glorious  and  dear, 
Her  voice  is  as  a  thousand  tongues 
Of  silver  fountains  gurgling  clear. 

Her  breath  is  prayer,  her  lips  are  love, 

And  worship  of  all  lovely  things, 
Her  children  have  a  gracious  port ; 

Her  beggars  show  the  blood  of  kings. 

She  rules  the  age  by  beauty's  power, 
As  once  she  ruled  by  armed  might, 

The  Southern  sun  doth  treasure  her 
Deep  in  his  golden  heart  of  light. 

Awe  strikes  the  traveller  when  he  sees 

The  vision  of  her  distant  dome, 
And  a  strange  spasm  wrings  his  heart 

As  the  guide  whispers,  "  There  is  Rome." 

Five  months  were  passed  in  Rome,  and  it  was  in  this  city 
that  the  crown  of  motherhood  was  laid  upon  the  brow  of  the 
young  wife. 

In  the  spring  of  1844  our  travellers  turned  their  faces 
homeward,  carrying  with  them  a  little  daughter,  who  received 
the  name  of  Julia  Romana,  in  remembrance  of  her  Roman 
birth.  They  now  made  some  stay  in  Paris,  and  crossed 
thereafter  to  England,  where  their  time  was  fully  occupied 
by  a  series  of  visits  in  the  country  after  the  mode  of  hospitality 
which  still  exists.  One  of  these  visits  was  to  the  venerable 
Dr.  Fowler  of  Salisbury.  Another  was  at  Atherston,  the 
residence  of  Charles  Nolte  Bracebridge.  Mrs.  Bracebridge 
was  very  intimate  with  the  family  of  Florence  Nightingale, 
and  through  her  it  was  arranged  that  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe 
should  visit  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Nightingale  at  their  country  seat  in 
Hampshire.  Miss  Nightingale  was  at  that  time  contemplating 
the  philanthropic  career  in  which  she  afterwards  so  greatly 
distinguished  herself.  She  consulted  Dr.  Howe  on  the  ad- 
visability of  devoting  her  life  to  the  professional  care  of  the 
sick.  To  the  family  of  the  high-born  young  woman  the  idea 


JULIA  WARD   HO  WE.  347 

was  at  the  time  unwelcome ;  but  from  the  philanthropic 
American  she  met  with  every  encouragement. 

After  their  return  to  America  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe  took  up 
their  abode  at  the  Institution  for  the  Blind,  of  which  Dr. 
Howe  was  then,  and  continued  to  be  until  the  time  of  his 
death,  the  director.  The  charming  estate  of  "Green  Peace" 
was  soon  afterwards  bought,  and  here  many  years  were  spent. 
The  great  garden,  with  the  famous  fruit-trees  and  conserva- 
tories, was  a  constant  source  of  delight  to  Dr.  Howe.  The 
summers  were  passed  at  Lawton's  Valley,  one  of  the  most 
beautiful  spots  on  the  island  of  Newport.  During  the  first 
few  years  of  her  married  life,  that  busiest  time  of  young 
wifehood  and  motherhood,  Mrs  Howe  had  little  time  to  give 
to  her  favorite  occupation  of  writing,  and  though  she  never 
gave  up  her  habit  of  study,  she  produced  little  literary  work 
of  importance. 

In  the  year  1854  she  published  anonymously  her  first 
volume  of  poems,  "Passion  Flowers."  The  little  volume 
made  a  great  sensation  in  the  literary  world  of  Boston,  and 
was  easily  laid  at  the  door  of  its  brilliant  author.  "  There  is 
no  other  woman  in  Boston  who  could  have  written  it,"  was 
the  universal  verdict,  and  an  all-unsought  reputation  was  won 
for  Mrs  Howe  by  this  her  first  serious  literary  venture. 

The  recognition  which  "Passion  Flowers"  obtained  was 
of  the  highest  kind.  The  brother  and  sister  poets  whom  she 
addresses  in  the  opening  salutation  stretched  forth  to  her 
welcoming  hands.  Emerson,  Whittier,  Longfellow,  Bryant, 
and  Holmes  admitted  her  gladly  as  an  honored  member  of 
their  glorious  guild. 

After  the  publication  of  her  first  volume,  Mrs.  Howe 
became  deeply  interested  in  the  question  which  at  that  time 
divided  all  society  under  the  two  heads  of  Pro-slavery  and 
Anti-slavery.  Dr.  Howe  earty  identified  himself  with  the  old 
Free-Soil  party,  which  later  developed  into  the  Anti-slavery 
body.  That  chivalrous  soul,  who,  before  boyhood  was  left 
behind,  had  gone  a  knight-errant  to  the  help  of  the  Greeks, 
and  had  suffered  danger  and  imprisonment  in  aid  of  the 


348  JULIA  WAUD  HOWE. 

cause  of  freedom,  was  pledged  to  the  party  which  had 
resolved  that  the  fetters  should  be  stricken  from  the  wrists 
of  the  slave.  With  that  band  of  workers,  which  numbered 
in  its  ranks  John  Andrew,  Wendell  Phillips,  Charles  Simmer, 
and  Theodore  Parker,  Mrs.  Howe  was  thrown  in  constant 
contact.  That  her  woman's  wit  and  poet's  pen  helped  on  the 
cause  with  all  courage  and  enthusiasm  is  not  to  be  wondered  at. 
The  "Boston  Commonwealth"  was  at  that  time  a  paper  almost 
exclusively  devoted  to  the  anti-slavery  cause.  For  some  time 
Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe  edited  this  journal,  and  Mrs.  Howe  con- 
tributed much  that  was  brilliant  to  its  columns. 

"  Words  for  the  Hour,"  a  volume  of  poems  printed  in  1855, 
a  year  after  the  publication  of  "Passion  Flowers,"  contains 
many  poems  which  at  that  time  failed  not  to  produce  an 
effect.  The  thunderous  rumblings  which  foretold  the  storm 
were  in  the  air,  and  in  the  cadenced  numbers  of  "  The  Ser- 
mon of  Spring,"  "  Tremont  Temple,"  "  Slave  Eloquence," 
"An  Hour  in  the  Senate,"  "Slave  Suicide,"  and  "The  Sen- 
ator's Return,"  there  rings  a  sterner  motif  th&u  in  the  stanzas 
of  the  preceding  book. 

These  verses  seem  now  to  be  but  the  .prelude  of  the  great 
poem  of  the  "  Battle-Hymn  of  the  Republic."  The  soul  of  the 
patriotic  woman  changed  colors  with  the  progress  of  the 
nation,  and  when  our  land  was  stained  with  the  blood  of  its 
defenders,  and  the  war  bugles  rang  through  the  country,  her 
voice  took  up  the  cry  and  echoed  back  a  war  paean,  a  "  Battle- 
Hymn,"  grand  enough  for  the  march  of  the  Republic  to  its 
greatest  conquest,  the  victory  of  self. 

It  was  in  the  first  year  of  the  war  that  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe, 
Governor  and  Mrs.  Andrew,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Edwin  Whipple 
made  their  memorable  journey  to  Washington.  Their  visit 
was  full  of  a  deep  interest,  and  every  moment  brought  with 
it  some  new  experience  of  the  terrors  of  war  which  shook  the 
seat  of  government.  One  afternoon  the  whole  party  drove 
out  to  the  camps  outside  of  Washington  to  visit  Colonel  Wil- 
liam Greene.  During  the  visit  their  host  turned  to  Mrs.  Howe 
and  said :  "  Madame,  you  must  say  something  to  my  soldiers." 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  349 

To  a  woman  who  had  never  made  a  speech  in  her  life  this 
request,  almost  like  a  command,  was  indeed  startling.  Three 
times  she  ran  away  and  hid  herself,  but  the  colonel  found  her 
each  time  and  persisted  that  she  should  speak  to  the  soldiers. 
Finally  she  yielded  to  his  solicitation,  and  made  a  short  address 
to  the  company  of  men. 

Some  days  after  this  Mrs.  Howe  and  her  friends  were 
present  at  a  review  of  troops,  which  was  interrupted  by  a 
movement  on  the  part  of  the  enemy.  Reinforcements 
were  sent  to  a  party  of  Union  soldiers  in  the  neighborhood 
who  had  been  surprised  and  surrounded.  The  review  was 
abandoned  for  the  day,  and  the  troops  marched  back  to  their 
cantonments.  The  carriage  in  which  Mrs.  Howe  rode 
moved  slowly,  surrounded  by  what  seemed  a  river  of 
armed  men.  To  beguile  the  time  she  began  to  sing  the 
John  Brown  song,  on  hearing  which  the  soldiers  shouted ; 
"  Good  for  you."  Mrs.  Howe  now  spoke  to  her  friends  in 
the  carriage  of  the  desire  which  she  had  felt  to  write  some 
words  of  her  own  which  might  be  sung  to  this  stirring  tune, 
saying  also  that  she  feared  she  should  never  be  able  to 
do  it.  Her  wish  was  soon  fulfilled.  She  lay  down  that 
night  full  of  thoughts  of  battle,  and  awoke  before  dawn 
the  next  morning  to  find  the  desired  verses  immediately 
present  to  her  mind.  She  sprang  from  her  bed,  and  in  the 
dim  gray  light  found  a  pen  and  paper,  whereon  she  wrote, 
scarcely  seeing  them,  the  lines  of  the  poem.  Returning  to 
her  couch,  she  was  presently  asleep,  but  not  until  she  had 
said  to  herself:  "I  like  this  better  than  anything  I  have  ever 
written." 

One  of  Mrs.  Howe's  most  interesting  literary  productions 
is  "  The  World's  Own,"  a  five-act  drama  in  blank  verse. 
This  was  played  at  Wallack's  Theatre  in  the  year  1855.  The 
tragedy  is  a  very  powerful  and  terrible  one,  and  has  high 
literary  merit.  The  leading  role  was  played  by  Miss  Ma- 
thilda Heron,  then  one  of  our  most  popular  actresses.  Mr. 
Edwin  Sothern,  at  that  time  a  member  of  the  Wallack's 
company,  played  one  of  the  minor  parts. 
22 


350  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

ff  A  Trip  to  Cuba,"  published  in  1860,  is  a  charming  vol- 
ume, embodying  the  experiences  of  a  winter  passed  in  the 
tropics.  The  outward  voyage  was  made  in  company  with 
Theodore  Parker,  one  of  Mrs.  Howe's  warmest  friends,  Mrs. 
Parker,  and  Miss  Hannah  Stevenson.  In  the  narrative  of 
the  voyage  Parker  is  spoken  of  as  "  Can  Grande,"  and  the 
descriptions  of  the  great  man  are  among  the  most  interesting 
passages  of  the  brilliant,  breezy  little  book.  The  humorous 
account  of  the  voyage  to  the  beautiful  island,  the  picture  of 
Nassau,  and  the  landing  in  Havana,  bring  the  reader  to  the 
capital  of  the  West  Indies  in  as  good  spirits,  and  as  eager  to 
explore  its  beauties  and  mysteries  as  was  ff  Hulia  Protes- 
tante"  herself  on  the  day  when  she  first  set  foot  on  Cuban 
soil.  The  visit  to  the  Jesuit  College  is  vividly  pictured,  and 
the  Padre  Doyaguez  and  the  younger,  more  interesting 
Padre  Lluc  are  drawn  to  the  life.  From  the  former  of 
these  worthies  the  writer  received  the  quaint  title  of  "  Hulia 
Protestante,"  by  which  she  speaks  of  herself  all  through 
the  book.  In  the  parting  with  Parker,  whom  they  were 
never  to  see  again,  there  is  a  prophetic  melancholy  run- 
ning like  a  dark  vein  across  a  bright  piece  of  glistening 
marble. 

"A  pleasant  row  brought  us  to  the  side  of  the  steamer. 
It  was  already  dusk  as  we  ascended  her  steep  gangway,  and 
from  that  to  darkness  there  is  at  this  season  but  the  interval 
of  a  breath.  Dusk,  too,  were  our  thoughts  at  parting  from 
Can  Grande  —  the  mighty,  the  vehement,  the  great  fighter. 
How  were  we  to  miss  his  deep  music  here  and  at  home  ! 
With  his  assistance  we  had  made  a  very  respectable  band ; 
now  we  were  to  be  only  a  wandering  drum  and  fife  —  the 
fife  particularly  shrill,  and  the  drum  particularly  solemn.' 
..."  And  now  came  silence  and  tears  and  last  embraces ; 
we  slipped  down  the  gangway  into  our  little  craft,  and  look- 
ing up  saw  bending  above  us,  between  the  slouched  hat  and 
silver  beard,  the  eyes  that  we  can  never  forget,  that  seemed 
to  drop  back  in  the  darkness  with  the  solemnity  of  a  last 
farewell.  We  .went  home,  and  the  drum  hung  himself 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  351 

gloomily  on  his  peg,  and  the  little  fife  '  shut  up '  for  the 
rest  of  the  evening." 

"  Later  Lyrics,"  a  volume  of  poems  published  in  the  year 
1866,  contains  some  of  the  most  beautiful  of  Mrs.  Howe's 
compositions.  Those  which  relate  to  the  loss  of  her  little 
boy,  who  died  in  the  year  1863,  are  poems  which  mothers 
cannot  read  without  a  tribute  of  tears.  "  In  My  Valley  "  is  a 
prophetic  vision  of  her  later  years,  which  has  been  strangely 
fulfilled :  — 

"  Thou  shalt  live  for  song  and  story 

For  the  service  of  the  pen, 
Shalt  survive  till  children's  children 
Bring  thee  mother  joys  again. 

"  To  my  fiery  youth's  ambition 

Such  a  boon  was  scarcely  dear, 
Thou  shalt  live  to  be  a  grandame 
Work  and  die  devoid  of  fear. 

"  Now  as  utmost  grace  it  steads  me, 

Add  but  this  thereto,  I  said, 
On  the  matron's  time-worn  mantle 
Let  the  poet's  wreath  be  laid." 

Though  Boston  is  only  the  city  of  her  adoption,  Mrs.  Howe 
has  become  a  Bostonian  of  the  Bostonians.  In  the  years 
of  her  early  married  life  in  this  city  she  felt  not  only 
her  removal  from  the  familiar  scenes  and  the  friends  of  her 
youth,  but  also  a  certain  formality  and  coldness  in  her  sur- 
roundings which  were  in  strong  contrast  to  the  easier  hospi- 
tality of  her  own  city. 

With  her  peculiar  magnetic  charm  she  quickly  drew  about 
her  a  circle  of  people ;  and  her  house  has  always  been  the 
resort  of  men  and  women  interesting  for  other  reasons  than 
the  magnitude  of  their  bank  accounts,  or  the  extravagance  of 
their  toilette. 

The  so-called  "  Brain  Club  "  owes  the  origin  of  its  brilliant 
existence  to  three  ladies,  Mrs.  Apthorp,  Mrs.  Quincy,  and 


352  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

Mrs.  Howe.  This  association  was  formed  with  an  idea  of 
bringing  together  the  most  intellectual  society  people,  for 
mutual  entertainment  and  benefit.  The  Club  met  at  the 
house  of  one  of  its  members  once  in  ten  days  during  the 
winter  season,  the  lady  who  received  the  Club  being  respon- 
sible for  its  amusement  or  instruction.  How  often  was  Mrs. 
Howe  called  upon  to  assist  in  these  entertainments,  and  how 
brilliant  were  the  evenings  lighted  up  by  her  fantastic  humors. 
Charades  there  were  which  will  never  be  forgotten  by  those 
who  witnessed  them.  One  of  these,  which  Mrs.  Howe  can 
never  recall  without  a  paroxysm  of  laughter,  included 
among  its  actors  Mr.  William  Hunt  and  Mr.  Hamilton 

o 

Wilde,  who  fought  a  mock  combat  with  hobby-horses.  For 
this  Club  were  written  "Parlor  Macbeth,"  and  "Mrs.  Some- 
Pumpkins  at  Court,"  two  brilliant  comic  monologues  which 
have  never  been  printed. 

At  the  very  time  when  these  comic  fantasies  were  indulged 
in  Mrs.  Howe  was  engaged  in  a  serious  study  of  philoso- 
phy. These  brilliant  essays  of  wit  and  frolic-fancy  were 
like  the  sparks  which  the  smith  strikes  out  from  the  anvil 
whereon  lies  the  iron  ploughshare  which  he  is  forging.  To 
the  crowd  of  children  and  idlers  gathered  about  the  door  of 
the  smithy,  the  shower  of  shining  scintillations  is  all  that  is 
seen  in  the  darkness  of  the  forge.  But  the  smith  works  away 
with  ringing  blows,  shaping  the  implement  which  shall  harrow 
up  the  soil,  and  make  way  for  the  seed  and  its  fruit.  He  is 
glad  of  the  delight  which  the  children  feel  in  the  red  golden 
rain  of  the  iron,  and  he  can  laugh  with  them  in  their  thought- 
less merriment. 

This  ebullition  of  what  she  herself  calls  "nonsense"  has 
always  been  one  of  the  rarest  and  most  fascinating  qualities 
of  this  many-sided  woman ;  it  is  one  which  has  made  her  a 
welcome  guest  in  gay  as  well  as  in  serious  society.  The 
making  of  fun  seems  the  necessary  and  natural  relief  which 
her  nature  claims  after  heavy  and  continued  thoughts  and 
productions.  It  is  the  safety-valve  of  an  intense  and  energetic 
temperament,  and  the  delicate  wit  and  fine  satire  are  not  the 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  353 

least  among  the  weapons  given  her  to  combat  and  take  captive 
those  with  whom  she  has  been  thrown  in  relation. 

Mrs.  Howe's  philosophical  researches  led  her  to  a  more 
careful  study  of  society  than  she  had  hitherto  made.  The 
results  of  this  were  embodied  by  her  in  a  series  of  essays 
upon  practical  ethics,  in  writing  which  Mrs.  Ho  we  had  in  view 
a  possible  audience.  In  the  winter  of  1862  she  collected  this 
audience  in  the  parlor  of  her  house  in  Chestnut  street,  by 
commissioning  ten  of  her  personal  friends  to  invite  each  the 
same  number  of  their  friends.  These  parlor  lectures  bore 
the  following  titles:  "How  not  to  Teach  Ethics,"  "Liberty, 
Equality,  Fraternity,"  "  Doubt  and  Belief,"  "  Proteus,  or  the 
Secret  of  Success," "Duality  of  Character."  In  these  lectures 
Mrs.  Howe  hovered  on  the  borders  of  metaphysical  speculation, 
to  which  she  has  devoted  some  years  of  labor.  In  this  direction 
were  conceived  her  essays  on  "  Polarity,"  tf  The  Fact  Accom- 
plished," on  "Limitation,"  on  Ideal  Causation,"  and  others. 

Mrs.  Howe  was  soon  invited  to  read  these  essays  be- 
fore the  general  public,  and  in  doing  so  became  aware  that 
she  had  passed  somewhat  out  of  the  sphere  of  the  average 
audience.  While  intensely  enjoying  this  part  of  her  work, 
she  still  felt  the  necessity  of  returning  to  methods  of  thought 
and  expression  which  should  bring  her  into  more  immediate 
sympathy  with  the  world  around  her.  At  this  period  Mrs. 
Howe  also  contributed  three  papers  to  the  "Christian  Exam- 
iner," of  which  the  first  was  entitled  "  The  Name  and  Exist- 
ence of  God,"  while  the  others  treated  of  "  The  Ideal  State," 
and  "  The  Ideal  Church."  These  essays  made  a  profound 
impression  at  the  time  of  their  publication,  and  were  justly 
considered  as  valuable  additions  to  theological  philosophy.  It 
is  work  of  this  order  that  has  placed  Mrs.  Howe  on  a  level 
with  the  eminent  thinkers  of  her  time.  Her  friendship  has 
been  sought  by  men  like  Emerson,  Longfellow,  Holmes, 
Lieber,  Hedge,  Lowell,  Agassiz,  Sumner,  and  Parker,  "who 
judged  her,"  in  the  words  of  not  the  least  distinguished  of 
these,  "as  their  peers."  Her  intellectual  conscience  is  of  the 
most  sensitive  order,  and  has  never  been  satisfied  with  work 


354  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

which  fell  short  of  being  the  best  she  could  make  it.  Fowler, 
the  phrenologist,  remarked  on  her  great  love  of  approbation, 
which  was,  he  said,  "  restricted  by  the  desire  only  of  the 
approbation  of  the  best." 

In  the  year  1867  Mrs.  Howe  crossed  the  Atlantic  for  the 
third  time,  in  company  with  her  husband  and  two  of  her 
daughters,  Julia  Romana,  her  eldest  born,  and  Laura,  the 
third  daughter.  The  trip  was  one  of  great  interest,  and  was 
undertaken  by  Dr.  Howe  in  order  to  carry  aid  to  the  Greeks, 
the  brave  struggle  of  the  little  island  of  Crete  against  the 
unholy  Turkish  bondage  being  then  at  its  height.  The  coun- 
try for  which  half  a  century  before  he  had  ventured  his  young 
life,  again  claimed  the  help  of  all  Philhellenes,  and  enlight- 
ened men  and  women.  Dr.  Howe,  though  then  nearing  three- 
score years  and  ten,  raised  a  large  sum  of  money,  and  with 
it  purchased  supplies,  which  he  carried  to  the  refugees  from 
the  heroic  isle.  England,  France,  Germany,  and  Italy  were 
revisited,  and  a  long  sojourn  was  made  in  Rome,  at  the 
delightful  home  of  Mrs.  Howe's  sister,  Mrs.  Terry.  The 
notes  of  this  journey  were  embodied  in  a  charming  book  of 
travel,  "From  the  Oak  to  the  Olive,"  published  after  Mrs. 
Howe's  return  to  America,  in  1869. 

It  was  at  this  period  that  the  subject  of  this  sketch  first 
became  interested  in.  the  movement  with  which  she  has  since 
become  so  widely  identified.  The  advance  of  her  kind  in  all 
ways  Mrs.  Howe  had  always  had  at  heart,  but  only  at  that 
period  did  she  conceive  the  woman  suffrage  movement  to  be 
the  foremost  question  of  the  time.  Once  convinced  of  the 
importance  of  giving  the  franchise  to  woman,  she  became  an 
avowed  and  powerful  champion  of  the  cause.  Heart,  soul, 
and  mind  were  devoted  to  furthering  the  movement,  which 
acquired  through  her  an  additional  dignity  and  importance. 
Nothing  has  been  more  important  in  America  than  breeding, 
That  security  which  rests  upon  good  manners,  that  modera- 
tion belonging  to  refined  natures,  are  the  bridges  between  the 
reformer  and  the  public,  which  suspects  the  mere  intellectual 
adventurer. 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  355 

\ 

The  philosophical  character  of  Mrs.  Howes  mind,  and  her 
recognition  of  principles,  have  made  all  that  she  has  said  in 
connection  with  the  suffrage  movement  logical.  With  the 
enthusiasm  of  a  late  convert  to  the  cause  she  has  combined 
the  results  of  her  studious  life.  Of  the  merits  of  the  much- 
vexed  question  this  is  not  the  occasion  to  speak.  The  writer 
would,  however,  bear  testimony  that  even  among  those  who 
are  most  firmly  convinced  that  its  success  would  not  conduce 
to  the  \vell-being  of  the  women,  children,  and  men  of  the 
country,  Mrs.  Howe's  disinterested  and  ardent  advocacy  is 
admired  and  respected. 

The  establishment  of  the  New  England  Women's  Club  in 
the  year  1869  was  a  new  departure  in  the  woman's  move- 
ment. Mrs.  Howe  was  one  of  those  with  whom  origi- 
nated the  plan  of  the  association,  of  which  she  has  long 
been  president.  This  club  of  some  two  hundred  ladies 
has  pleasant  parlors  in  Park  street,  in  the  house  origin- 
ally built  by  Mr.  Francis  Gray,  and  afterwards  occupied 
by  ex-President  Quincy.  The  rooms  are  always  open  and 
warmed,  and  the  regular  wreekly  meeting  brings  a  large  pro- 
portion of  its  members  together  to  listen  to  a  paper  from 
some  eminent  person.  The  club  is  not  a  suffrage  club, 
though  a  large  proportion  of  its  members  are  interested  in 
the  cause.  Many  of  the  subjects  there  discussed  relate  to  the 
education  and  the  general  welfare  of  women. 

As  a  speaker  Mrs.  Hx>we  has  had  much  experience  since 
the  year  1870.  Her  lectures  are  interesting,  and  touch  on 
many  topics,  some  of  which  are  germane  to  the  reform  she 
has  had  so  warmly  at  heart.  Her  gentle  voice  and  powers 
of  oratory  are  by  no  means  the  least  of  her  gifts.  The  ex- 
quisite modulations  of  her  tones,  the  perfectly  chiselled  enun- 
ciation of  the  words,  make  her  voice  carry  to  a  great  distance, 
and  she  has  frequently  been  heard  to  advantage  in  the  Bos- 
ton Music  Hall  and  Tremont  Temple,  and  has  also  spoken  in 
the  Royal  Albert  Hall  in  London. 

In  the  year  1872  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe,  with  their  youngest 
daughter  and  a  party  of  friends,  passed  three  of  the  winter 


350  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

months  in  the  island  of  Santo  Domingo,  the  queen  of  the 
tropics,  the  garden  of  the  world.  Dr.  Howe  had  been 
appointed  a  member  of  the  commission  sent  down  by  President 
Grant  to  investigate  the  advantages  of  the  proposed  annexation 
of  the  island  to  this  country.  The  report  was  one  very  favor- 
able to  the  scheme,  and  of  all  the  commissioners  none  was  more 
enthusiastic  for  the  annexation  than  Dr.  Howe.  The  Samana 
Bay  Company  made  Dr.  Howe  one  of  its  directors,  and  Pres- 
ident Baez  received  him  with  the  greatest  cordiality.  The 
winter  passed  in  the  picturesque  gray-walled  town  of  Santo 
Domingo,  where  Columbus  had  so  long  lived,  was  one  full 
of  a  romantic  interest.  The  wonderful  resources  of  the 
island  were  explored,  and  journeys  into  its  interior  were 
made  on  horseback.  The  hospitality  of  the  inhabitants 
was  cordially  extended  and  greatly  enjoyed  by  Dr.  and  Mrs. 
Howe.  The  great  white-marble  house  —  or  palace,  as  it  was 
called  by  the  natives  —  where  they  lived  was  garrisoned  day 
and  night  by  a  military  guard  of  honor.  The  soldiers  drew 
for  this  and  all  other  military  duty  the  incredibly  small  pay 
of  ten  cents  a  day.  The  payment  was  made  in  United  States 
silver.  The  army  was  dressed — very  sketchily  —  in  uni- 
forms a  large  part  of  which  bore  the  familiar  letters  U.  S. 
The  life  in  the  great  cool  palace,  with  its  open  courtyard  and 
wide  marble  corridors,  its  view  of  palm  groves  and  orange 
orchards,  was  idyllic.  The  perfect  climate,  the  beautiful 
landscape,  the  simple,  pathetic  people,  longing  for  a  civiliza- 
tion which  we  have  declined  to  help  them  achieve,  all  made  a 
strong  impression  on  Mrs.  Howe. 

From  Santo  Domingo  she  sailed  for  Europe,  where  she 
remained  several  months.  The  object  of  this  visit  was  the 
furtherance  of  the  cause  of  peace  by  a  direct  appeal  to  the 
sympathies  of  women .  In  the  year  of  the  Franco-Prussian  war 
Mrs.  Howe  had  become  much  impressed  with  a  feeling  that  the 
women  of  the  civilized  world  could,  by  uniting  their  efforts, 
do  much  to  destroy  the  prestige  of  military  glory  and  to  pro- 
mote the  settlement  of  international  difficulties  by  arbitration, 
based  on  recognized  principles  of  justice.  So  strongly  was 


JULIA  WARD  HOWE.  357 

Mrs.  Howe  moved  by  this  view  that  she  composed  and  issued 
a  circular  addressed  to  women  of  all  nationalities  and  degrees. 
This  brief  circular  was  translated  into  several  languages,  and 
was  distributed  in  countries  as  various. 

Her  visit  to  Europe  in  1872  was  made  in  pursuance  of  this 
appeal,  and  in  the  hope  of  assembling  a  Women's  Peace 
Congress  in  London,  the  metropolis  of  the  world.  To  this 
end  Mrs.  Howe  remained  in  England  some  two  months, 
where  she  was  employed  mostly  in  the  public  advocacy  of 
the  measure  which  she  had  so  much  at  heart.  The  time  was 
not,  and  is  not  yet,  ripe  for  such  a  congress  as  Mrs.  Howe 
sought  to  assemble.  Her  efforts,  however,  were  recognized 
by  many  eminent  persons,  and  her  "Peace  Crusade"  of  1872 
has  always  remained  one  of  her  happiest  remembrances. 

A  second  visit  to  Santo  Domingo  was  made  by  Dr.  and 
Mrs.  Howe  in  the  year  1873.  This  time  the  little  town  of 
Samana,  lying  cradled  at  the  foot  of  a  range  of  hills,  washed 
by  the  beryl-green  waters  of  the  bay,  was  their  headquarters. 
In  a  cottage  high  up  on  the  mountain-side  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe, 
with  one  faithful  black  attendant,  France,  a  Dominican, 
passed  a  quiet  winter.  The  simple  folk  of  the  village  grew 
to  love  the  strange  lady  who  took  such  interest  in  their  homes 
and  children.  When  at  last  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Howe  were  obliged 
to  leave  the  island,  and  the  flag  of  the  Samana  Bay  Company 
was  lowered,  it  was  with  real  grief  that  they  parted  with  their 
humble  friends,  who  still  cherish  a  grateful  memory  of  the 
visitors  who  sojourned  for  so  long  among  them. 

On  the  9th  of  January,  in  the  year  1876,  Dr.  Samuel  G. 
Howe  died  after  a  short  illness.  For  several  years  previous 
to  his  death  his  health  had  been  greatly  shattered,  and  in  the 
last  year  especially  he  became  very  dependent  upon  his  wife. 
Her  care  of  him  was  tender  and  unfailing. 

In  the  spring  of  the  following  year  Mrs.  Howe  made  a 
voyage  to  Europe  with  her  youngest  daughter.  She  remained 
abroad  for  more  than  two  years,  and  visited  in  this  period 
England,  France,  Holland,  Italy,  Switzerland,  Germany, 
Egypt,  Syria,  Turkey,  and  Greece.  With  Greece  she  was 


358  JULIA  WARD  HOWE. 

already  familiar,  but  the  delights  of  the  Orient  had  until 
then  been  unexplored  by  her. 

Genius  is  of  a  twofold  order.  That  which  springs  only 
from  the  intellect  is  like  the  wonderful  spectacle  of  the 
aurora  borealis,  which  flames  across  the  face  of  heaven.  It 
will  challenge  the  admiration  of  mankind.  It  may  illuminate 
the  spheres  of  the  present  and  the  future,  solving  their 
problems  and  revealing  their  secrets ;  but  while  its  brilliant 
play  transfigures  sky,  sea,  and  land,  it  warms  no  living 
thing.  There  is  a  quality  of  genius  which  is  of  the  heart, 
and  which  works  mainly  for  the  comforting  of  humanity. 
Through  every  thought  and  action  of  him  who  possesses  this 
spark  of  the  Divine  love  is  felt  the  glow  of  the  Promethean 
fire. 

It  is  a  strange  fact  that  most  women  of  genius  have 
possessed  the  genius  of  the  intellect.  Those  of  Eve's  daugh- 
ters who  have  claimed  and  found  admittance  to  the  Olympian 
heights  of  greatness  have  more  often  been  admired  than 
loved.  Their  feminine  nature  seems  often  to  be  hateful  to 
them,  and  in  their  striving  for  fame  and  glory  they  lose  that 
quality  which  should  most  endear  them  to  their  kind.  Men 
are  their  competitors,  and  it  is  from  them  they  must  wrest 
the  unwilling  admission  of  equality.  The  heavier  burden 
which  is  laid  upon  their  shoulders  handicaps  them  in  the  race 
of  life,  and  their  sex  becomes  a  grief  to  them. 

How  different  has  been  the  spirit  by  which  Mrs.  Howe  has 
been  animated  through  life.  How  has  she  striven  to  maintain 
the  dignity  of  womanhood,  and  to  lift  her  sex  to  the  high 
level  which  she  has  attained. 

To  those  who  have  lived  nearest  to  the  deep  heart,  its 
warmth  has  overcome  the  griefs  and  disappointments  of  the 
world.  To  those  who  from  a  distance  can  only  judge  of  the 
woman  by  her  works,  the  glow  of  her  genius  is  a  beneficent 
and  helpful  light.  As  poet,  philosopher,  reformer,  she  is 
known  by  the  world ;  to  her  own  she  is  dearest  as  woman, 
friend,  and  mother. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 
CLAKA    LOUISE    KELLOGG. 

BY  HARRIET  PRESCOTT  SPOFFORD. 

Clara  Louise  Kellogg' s  Birth  and  Parentage  —  Girlhood  and  Early  Education 

—  Her  Extraordinary  Musical  Genius— Its  Early  Development — Intuitive 
Knowledge  of  Tone  and  Pitch  —  Marvellous  Execution  —  Patient  Study 

and  Unwearied  Devotion  to  Her  Art  —  Beginning  of  Her  Career  —  An 
Unusual  Compliment  at  Rehearsal  —  First  Trial  in  Opera  —  Her  Debut 

—  Carrying  the   Audience  Captive  —  Wild    Enthusiasm  —  Triumphant 
Success  —  Verdict  of  the  Critics  —  Visits  Europe  —  Debut  in  London  — 
A  Brilliant  and  Enthusiastic  Audience  —  Acknowledged  to  be  the  Queen 
of  Song  —  Return  to  America  —  Reception  in  New  York  —  Triumphal 
Tours  —  Her  Charity  and  Kindness  —  Personal  Appearance  and  Charac- 
teristics. 

T  would  be  difficult  to  imagine  a  stronger  con- 
trast in  any  life  than  that  existing  between  two 
nights  in  the  life  of  Clara  Louise  Kellogg.  In 
the  one,  at  the  very  end  of  the  Italian  opera 
season,  in  the  city  of  New  York,  a  girl  of 
seventeen,  slight  and  pale,  so  nervous  that  she 
could  hardly  move  her  rigid  lips,  so  frightened 
that  she  could  hardly  command  her  young 
voice,  came  before  a  calm  and  critical  audience, 
under  the  shadow  of  a  powerful  Italian  clique,  who 
sat  in  cool  judgment,  oblivious  of  the  fact  that 
warmth  of  manner  and  generosity  of  applause  would  stimu- 
late the  singer  as  sunshine  stimulates  the  budding  stem, 
essayed  to  sing  the  part  of  Gilda  in  "  Rigoletto,"  both  the 
dramatic  and  the  musical  portions  of  which  she  had  studied 
faithfully  for  nine  months,  and  fainted  under  the  cruel  ordeal 
when  the  curtain  had  fallen  at  the  end.  In  the  other,  some 
few  years  later,  in  London,  before  a  house  crowded  from 
floor  to  ceiling  with  the  best  culture  of  the  British  empire, 

359 


360  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

with  dukes  and  duchesses  flinging  her  their  flowers,  with  the 
heir  of  the  throne,  and  other  royal  princes,  applauding  in  the 
royal  box,  sure  of  herself  and  of  her  audience,  mistress  of 
her  art  and  of  the  stage,  she  sang  triumphantly  the  role  of 
Violetta,  was  tumultuously  called  five  times  before  the  cur- 
tain, and  half  smothered  in  the  wreaths  and  offerings  of  a 
superb  triumph. 

In  the  interval  of  these  two  nights,  what  arduous  labors, 
what  industry,  what  abnegation  of  a  young  girl's  pleasure, 
what  effort  to  overcome  the  timidity  of  a  press  and  a  public 
that  dared  not  admire  anything  not  yet  gilded  with  a  Euro- 
pean endorsement,  what  patience  to  outgrow  the  influence  of 
the  intrigues  of  jealous  foreign  artists,  what  struggle,  what 
determination  !  There  was  on  the  first  night  the  same  woman, 
the  same  genius,  the  same  will,  as  on  the  last ;  but  in  the 
last  all  these  things  had  come  to  the  full  flower  of  their 
beauty. 

Clara  Louise  Kellogg  was  born  in  the  year  1845,  in  Sum- 
terville,  South  Carolina,  where  her  parents  had  gone  the  year 
before,  —  her  father,  George  Kellogg,  at  the  head  of  a  school, 
and  her^ mother  playing  the  organ  of  the  church  there.  Her 
father  was  a  man  of  original  talent,  a  deep  thinker,  with  great 
powers  of  perception  and  reason,  familiar  with  the  most  in- 
timate principles  of  mechanics,  a  student  of  the  fine  arts,  a 
performer  on  the  flute,  remarkable  for  precision  and  richness, 
and  an  inventor,  who  shared  the  ill-fortune  of  most  invent- 
ors, in  seeing  other  people  acquire  wealth  by  his  own  unpaid 
labors.  He  was  the  inventor  of  type-distributing,  chain- 
making,  and  other  machines,  and  of  improved  surgical  instru- 
ments ;  and  it  was  he  that  introduced  into  England  machinery 
for  making  hats,  hooks  and  eyes,  and  a  variety  of  other 
articles.  Going  further  back,  one  of  our  prima  donna's 
grandparents  was  a  person  of  very  uncommon  mathematical 
attainments ;  and  another  was  an  excellent  violinist,  who, 
moreover,  in  the  beginning  of  the  cotton  manufacture,  super- 
intended the  erection  of  a  valuable  invention  of  her  own  in 
most  of  the  large  cotton  mills ;  a  parentage,  it  may  be  seen, 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  361 

from  which  something  far  more  than  usual  might  be  expected 
to  result. 

Mr.  Kellogg,  convinced  that  the  musical  ear  becomes  de- 
praved when  hearing  music  out  of  tune  or  off  the  true  pitch, 
carefully  kept  the  piano  in  tune  and  up  to  concert  pitch  dur- 
ing all  of  his  daughter's  childhood,  which  accounts,  in  some 
degree,  for  the  unvarying  nicety  and  spontaneity  of  her  musi- 
cal ear.  Her  father,  in  addition  to  his  other  accomplish- 
ments, was  a  philosophical  short-hand  writer,  and  he  took 
care  to  educate  his  daughter  in  the  elementary  sounds  which 
constitute  the  basis  of  every  language  ;  possibly  this  drilling, 
before  the  study  of  any  foreign  tongue,  had  to  do  with  mak- 
ing her  one  of  the  most  extraordinary  linguists  on  the  stage, 
—  one  who  can  master  the  lines  of  her  part  in  less  than  three 
days,  as  well  as  the  music.  "More  than  thirty  years 
ago,"  says  a  leading  clergyman,  "  I  stood  side  by  side  with 
George  Kellogg  in  the  Wesleyan  University,  from  which  we 
graduated  together  in  1837.  It  was  there,  in  the  regular  ex- 
ercises of  the  class-room,  that  I  first  detected  his  musical 
genius,  which,  however,  appeared  as  a  peculiar  capability, 
rather  than  as  anything  already  fully  developed.  Passing 
into  the  chapel  for  prayers,  one  day,  he  remarked  that  the 
casting  of  the  bell  was  imperfect,  for  he  observed  that  the 
sounds  were  not  in  accord.  At  his  recitations  in  acoustics, 
or  in*  psychology  or  physiology,  whenever  any  point  within 
the  range  of  the  science  of  music  came  up,  although  he  was 
not  a  proficient  in  these  things  by  study,  he  yet  seenfed  in- 
stinctively to  know  all  about  them.  He  was  married  to  a 
Middletovvn  lady  after  his  graduation,  and  it  was  commonly 
understood  that  the  young  couple  had  been  attracted  to  each 
other  by  their  common  musical  affinities." 

Mrs.  Kellogg,  the  mother,  is  herself  one  of  the  most  nota- 
ble women  of  the  generation.  She  is  possibly  the  one  most 
thoroughly  alive  woman  I  have  ever  met.  She  is  still  young, 
is  good,  kind,  and  wise,  and  might  have  made  a  great  mark 
on  the  artistic  world  if  she  had  not  so  forgotten  and  ab- 
sorbed herself  in  her  daughter,  that  hers  might  be  called 


362  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

a  case  of  suppressed  genius.  "  Her  brain  is  large,  and  her 
nervous  system  remarkably  sensitive  and  susceptible,"  was 
written  of  the  mother  at  the  time  of  the  daughter's 
debut  ;  "  and  from  the  first  we  have  thought  she  possessed 
more  natural  dramatic  power  than  almost  any  woman  we 
ever  knew.  In  ordinary  conversation  she  has  the  faculty 
of  imparting  to  her  speech  such  emphasis,  action,  and  ex. 
pression  of  countenance  as  to  give  to  the  listener  the  most 
vivid  and  lasting  impression  of  the  subject  in  hand.  And 
she  is  one  of  a  thousand  for'the  scope  and  brilliancy  of  her 
intellect,  and  especially  for  the  sparkling  fascination  of  her 
wit  and  imagination.  A  bright,  enthusiastic  woman,  she 
seems  to  learn  everything  with  grasping  rapidity,  bordering  on 
intuition  ;  yet,  with  these,  she  has  a  strong  and  logical  mind." 
She  is  a  woman,  moreover,  with  an  irresistible  impulse  in 
the  direction  of  art.  She  plays,  sings,  draws,  and  models, 
—  and  all  decidedly  well,  —  while  her  painting  is  something 
merely  marvellous.  "  We  have  a  vivid  remembrance  of  an 
illustrative  incident  that  occurred  many  years  ago,  in  which 
her  singular  success  came  under  our  own  observation, "writes 
another  raconteur.  "At  a  gathering  of  several  friends,  Mrs. 
Kellogg  noticed  a  cameo  of  beautiful  design  and  exquisite 
workmanship,  worn  by  one  of  the  ladies  in  the  company. 
After  a  careful  examination  of  the  cameo,  she  quietly  re- 
marked it  might  be  possible  for  her  to  cut  one  like  it,  if  the 
proper  implements  were  only  at  hand.  Observing  that  her 
friends  were  incredulous,  she  at  once  determined  to  make  the 
experiment,  and,  accordingly,  borrowed  the  cameo.  The  next 
morning  she  started  out  in  pursuit  of  a  suitable  shell  and  the 
necessary  tools.  The  artisan*  of  whom  she  purchased  her 
materials  and  implements,  on  learning  that  she  had  never  re- 
ceived the  least  instruction  in  the  art  of  cameo-cutting,  sug- 
gested the  impossibility  of  success  in  the  proposed  experiment. 
But,  still  confident  of  her  ability,  she  returned  home,  and  com- 
menced her  novel  and  difficult  task.  She  was  fortunate  in 
the  selection  of  a  shell  of  the  same  color ;  and  in  a  few  days 
the  work  was  finished.  Strange  to  say,  she  had  duplicated 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  363 

the  cameo  so  perfectly  that  even  a  practised  observer  could 
scarcely  distinguish  the  original  from  the  copy." 

It  was  from  the  force  and  quality  of  such  natures  that  the 
genius  of  Clara  Louise  Kellogg  was  created,  and  all  that  was 
in  them  was  bent  to  her  formation  and  education.  Her  pa- 
rents returned  from  the  South  to  their  home  in  New  Hartford, 
Connecticut,  while  she  was  yet  in  her  infancy,  and  there  they 
lived,  their  daughter  growing  up  familiar  with  the  world  of 
woods  and  waters,  a  child  of  nature,  until,  in  her  fifteenth 
year,  they  removed  to  New  York,  where,  subsequently,  Mr. 
Kellogg  received  a  position  in  the  custom-house,  which  he 
held  for  several  years. 

Louise  received  the  usual  education  of  young  girls  at  Ash- 
land Seminary,  among  the  Catskills,  studying  there  with  the 
faithfulness  that  has  always  marked  her  course ;  modestly 
conscious  of  her  gifts,  and  of  her  duty  in  their  trusteeship. 
She  was  at  home  with  her  mother,  singing  at  the  piano,  when 
a  gentleman,  —  Colonel  Stebbins,  the  brother  of  Emma  Steb- 
bins,  the  sculptor  of  the  "Lotus-Eater, " — who  had  occasion  to 
visit  the  house,  heard,  on  mounting  the  stairs,  the  wonderful 
shake  of  a  young  fresh  voice  on  an  upper  note,  like  that  of  a 
bird  in  the  blue  sky.  The  result  of  his  inquiries  was  that  he 
undertook  the  musical  education  of  what  he  considered  a 
prodigy,  because  spreading  the  royal  wings  of  genius  at  an 
age  when  the  common  flock  preens  its  feathers  without  a 
thought  of  flight.  In  accepting  the  future  thus  opened  to 
her,  the  child  knew  well  what  she  was  doing,  —  that  she  was 
to  forego  most  of  the  pleasures  and  pursuits  of  girlhood,  the 
companionship  of  young  associates,  the  fascinations  of  easy 
social  life ;  that  she  was,  in  short,  to  make  an  almost  entire 
abandonment  of  the  desires  and  inclinations  of  youth.  But 
besides  the  development  of  her  natural  powers,  she  now  had 
the  reward  of  those  who  believed  in  her  powers  to  aim  for, 
and  her  fidelity  and  application  were  equal  to  their  belief. 
Her  first  teacher  was  Professor  Millet ;  he  was  succeeded  by 
Signer  Albites  and  Signor  Manzochi ;  and  there  were  three 
years  under  the  guidance  of  Signor  Rivarde,  to  whom  she 


364  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

owes  much  of  the  correctness  of  her  style.  At  a  later  period 
Signor  Muzio  gave  her  a  few  lessons,  and  in  London  Signor 
Arditi.  did  the  same,  although,  with  the  education  she  acquired 
in  America,  she  had  already  accomplished  the  height  of  her 
fame,  and  must  have  taken  the  additional  lessons  only  through 
complaisance.  Perhaps  she  owes  as  much  to  the  unfailing 
supervision  of  her  mother,  in  all  her  suggestions,  her  dis- 
cipline, and  her  sympathetic  genius,  as  to  any  other  teacher. 
Her  mother  has  been  her  constant  companion,  confidante,  and 
manager,  designing  all  her  costumes,  superintending  her 
dressing,  standing  behind  the  scenes  with  a  wrap  ready  to 
fold  round  her  as  she  leaves  the  stage,  having  in  many  years 
never  seen  her  from  the  front,  shielding  her  in  all  her  concert 
and  stage  experience  before  the  public  as  carefully  as  a 
daughter  could  be  shielded  in  a  mother's  drawing-room. 

Clara  Louise  Kellogg's  musical  development  seems  to  date 
from  her  birth.  She  has  no  knowledge  of  how  or  when  she 
acquired  the  art  of  reading  music,  being  unable  to  recall  the 
time  when  she  was  not  mistress  of  all  the  symbols  of  the 
divine  art.  When  but  nine  months  old,  and  yet  in  arms,  she 
began  to  warble  a  tune  that  had  pleased  her  baby  fancy,  and 
accomplishing  the  first  part,  but  failing  to  turn  it  correctly, 
she  ceased,  and  was  not  heard  to  attempt  it  again  till  just 
before  the  completion  of  the  year,  when  she  broke  out  in  joy 
and  sang  the  whole  air  through.  At  two  years  old  certain 
songs  would  occasion  her  showers  of  happy  tears ;  and  there 
was  other  music  that  could  not  be  played  or  sung  in  the 
house  on  account  of  the  nervous  paroxysms  into  which  it 
threw  her.  It  may  be  judged  from  this  how  keen  was  her 
musical  susceptibility.  Her  musical  ear,  also,  as  I  have  said, 
has  always  been  of  the  finest.  She  was  not  three  years  old 
when,  some  one  touching  the  keys  of  the  piano  and  asking 
their  names,  unseen,  the  little  Louise  cried  out  from  an 
adjoining  room,  where,  of  course,  the  key-board  was  in- 
visible to  her  also,  "I  know  which  one  it  is,  mamma.  It's 
the  little  white  one  between  the  two  black  ones,"  —  which  it 
was.  Nothing  could  better  demonstrate  how  positive  is  her 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  365 

sense  of  sound.  Something  always  to  be  noticed  in  her 
singing  is  this  absolute  knowledge  of  tone  and  accuracy  in 
rendering  it.  Other  singers  may  be  heard  to  strike  the  note 
just  off'  the  true  pitch,  by  a  shade,  an  almost  inappreciable 
trifle,  thus  sliding  to  the  correct  tone ;  but  with  Louise 
Kellogg  it  is  always  the  pure  and  perfect  touch  at  the  first 
instant,  without  faltering  or  uncertainty,  sure  as  the  dart  of 
a  sunbeam.  Her  ear,  her  voice,  and  her  genius  are  the 
gifts  of  abundant  nature,  but  all  the  rest  of  her  achievement 
is  the  result  of  solid  work.  She  has  accomplished  nothing 
without  persistent  and  untiring  labor,  before  which  others 
might  well  recoil ;  and  her  marvellous  execution,  in  which 
she  is  not  only  unrivalled  but  unapproached  by  any  other 
singer,  has  been  acquired  only  by  unceasing  effort.  After 
every  triumph,  she  has  said  to  her  mother,  in  whom  she  was 
so  sure  of  perfect  comprehension  and  sympathy,  ff  But  better 
next  time  !  "  A  notable  critic  has  said  of  her,  "  Miss  Kellogg 
came  to  her  work  divinely  attuned.  Her  natural  advantages 
were  many  and  large.  She  possessed  that  nature  which 
could  not  only  carol  but  could  conquer.  She  was  gifted  with 
musical  'apprehension  which  even  in  infancy  was  looked  upon 
as  something  marvellous.  Her  ear  was  not  merely  superior 
to  many  others  in  its  delicacy ;  it  was  absolutely  unlike  any 
other  in  its  unerring  fidelity  to  a  positive  standard  of  purity 
and  pitch.  It  could  designate  and  analyze  all  the  subdi- 
visions of  the  gamut  before  the  child  had  learned  the  names 
of  the  notes.  She  seemed,  indeed,  to  have  been  born  with  a 
positive  and  not  a  relative  sense  of  tone  ;  and  the  fortunate 
advantage  of  the  purest  associations  and  the  best  training 
during  childhood  developed  and  strengthened  it.  This  is  the 
basis  of  that  subsequent  purity  and  accuracy  of  execution 
that  have  been  the  admiration  of  masters  and  composers  in 
two  hemispheres ;  and  it  explains  the  somewhat  remarkable 
statement  made  by  one  of  the  best  musicians  in  America,  to 
the  effect  that  Miss  Kellogg  was  the  only  vocalist  in  the 
country  who  never,  under  any  circumstances,  sang  out  of 
tune.  To  this  gift  of  an  ear  so  exquisitely  sensitive  that  it 
23 


366  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

could  detect  the  faintest  departure  from  the  pitch,  was  added 
a  vocal  function  of  very  remarkable  quality  and  power." 

An  interesting  illustration  of  this  extraordinary  musical 
organization,  with  its  instinctive  knowledge  of  a  positive 
standard  of  pitch,  was  afforded  by  an  occurrence  one  night 
during  her  first  visit  to  London,  when  Colonel  Mapleson  was 
bringing  out  "The  Water-Carrier,"  with  Madame  Titiens  in 
the  title  role.  Two  renowned  musical  critics  sat  in  the  front 
of  the  box  with  her,  each  with  his  full  score  of  the  opera, 
ready  to  note  his  criticisms  as  the  work  proceeded.  Sud- 
denly Miss  Kellogg  exclaimed  :  "  Ah,  what  singular  harmony  ! 
That  chord  was  so  and  so,"  naming  the  different  notes  that 
composed  it.  "  There  it  goes  into  another  strange  bit  of 
harmony,"  she  exclaimed,  quite  excited,  and  again  giving  the 
separate  notes.  "You  are  familiar  with  the  opera,"  said  one 
of  the  gentlemen.  "Not  at  all,"  she  answered;  "I  never 
read  a  note  of  it,  or  saw  a  score."  He  turned,  and  looked 
at  her  in  blank  amazement.  "How  is  it  possible,"  he  ex- 
claimed, "  for  you  to  repeat  this  harmony  under  such  condi- 
tions?" "I  cannot  tell  you  how  I  know  it,  nor  why  I  know 
it,"  she  answered.  But  she  went  on,  to  his  delight  and 
astonishment,  as  he  looked  at  the  score  and  she  listened  to 
the  music,  giving  page  after  page  of  the  important  chords, 
sometimes  so  fore-feeling  the  necessity  to  come,  with  her  sense 
of  nice  adjustment,  as  to  give  a  bar  or  two  in  advance,  nearly 
to  the  end  of  the  opera.  I  have  never  known  of  another 
person  with  such  a  phenomenal  power. 

When  at  last,  in  her  seventeenth  year,  it  was  decided  that 
she  was  to  be  given  a  trial  in  opera,  under  the  management 
of  M.  Grau,  she  surprised  even  those  who  had  believed  in 
her  the  most.  "  Do  you  know,"  said  some  one  to  Mr. 
Kellogg,  as  the  orchestra,  at  her  rehearsal,  laid  down  their 
instruments  and  applauded  her,  "that  the  orchestra  has  just 
paid  your  daughter  the  most  unusual  and  extraordinary  com- 
pliment?" And  it  is  musicians,  the  world  over,  who  have 
been  and  still  are  her  most  ardent  appreciators.  Of  her 
dtbut  that  night  N.  P.  Willis  wrote :  "  As  she  overcame  her 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  367 

agitation  and  regained  command  of  her  voice,  she  astonished 
her  hearers  with  her  force  and  execution ;  "  and  Charlotte 
Cushman,  who  was  present,  and  who,  fully  appreciating  her 
dramatic  genius,  took  in  her  the  liveliest  interest,  declared 
her  acting  to  be  that  of  an  incipient  Rachel.  She  bore  then, 
by  the  way,  a  strong  resemblance  to  Rachel,  chiefly  in  the 
shape  of  her  face  and  her  dark  and  deep-set  eyes ;  but  her 
happy  open  smile  and  her  changing  color  give  her  a  luxuri- 
ance of  womanly  beauty  to  which  the  slim  Hebrew,  classic 
and  white  and  lustrous  as  a  statue,  was  a  stranger. 

In  one  sense  this  debut  of  hers  was  entirely  satisfactory ; 
it  assured  her  that  she  was  right  in  her  aspirations,  and  that 
she  was  capable  of  success ;  and  the  word  "  fail "  was  no 
more  in  her  vocabulary  than  in  Richelieu's.  She  had  scorned 
to  adopt  the  precaution  of  timid  debutantes  by  singing  a  great 
part  in  the  smaller  places  before  attacking  it  in  the  metropo- 
lis, and  had  plunged  boldly  in  to  conquer  or  die.  She  sang 
a  second  time  in  New  York,  and  then  made  her  debut  in 
Boston,  in  "Linda  di  Chamounix."  Of  her  effort  in  this  rdle, 
on  the  night  of  a  terrific  rain  storm,  the  New  York  "Com- 
mercial Advertiser,"  had  said  :  "  We  unhesitatingly  pronounce 
the  result  of  her  appearance  in  this  second  role  to  be  a 
redoubled  conviction  that  she  is  one  of  the  first  geniuses  that 
has  yet  appeared  on  our  lyric  stage.  Any  woman  who  can 
so  enter  into  the  very  life,  both  acted  and  vocal,  of  the  mad 
passages  in  Linda,  who  can  grade  the  infinitely  delicate 
departings  and  returnings  of  reason  with  such  subtle  accuracy, 
has  established  her  right  to  be  considered  ...  a  genius  ade- 
quate with  patience  to  all  the  most  difficult  parts  in  the 
operatic  field."  In  Boston  she  took  her  audience  captive,  was 
called  twice  before  the  curtain  at  the  close  of  the  second  act, 
and  was  again  recalled  at  the  end  of  the  opera  and  overwhelmed 
with  flowers.  All  the  newspapers  next  day  were  enthusiastic 
over  her  voice,  her  clear  and  crisp  execution,  and  her  mag- 
netic power.  Said  the  "  Transcript "  :  "  Her  vocalization 
was  fragrant  with  bloom  and  beauty.  She  sang  the  music 
of  the  first  act  with  the  natural  enthusiasm  of  youth,  and  yet 


368  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

with  artistic  skill  and  finish.  In  the  duet  with  Brignoli  there 
was  a  gush  of  song  that  carried  delight  and  admiration  to  a 
high  pitch  in  the  audience."  Meanwhile,  D wight's  "  Journal 
of  Music,"  perhaps  then  the  highest  authority  in  this  or  any 
other  country,  said  of  her  :  "  We  have  rarely  had  occasion  to 
record  a  more  complete  and  genuine  success.  An  entire 
novice  upon  the  stage,  having  appeared  only  some  half  dozen 
times  in  all,  coming  to  us  almost  unheralded  and  unpuffed, 
indeed  almost  unknown,  she  has  stepped  into  the  position  of 
a  public  favorite  at  a  single  bound.  In  person  she  is  slender 
and  graceful,  with  a  pleasing  face,  intelligent  and  intellectual 
rather  than  beautiful,  capable  of  the  most  varied  expression. 
Her  voice  is  a  pure,  sweet,  high  soprano,  of  that  thin  and 
penetrating  quality  that  cuts  the  air  with  the  keen  glitter  of  a 
Damascus  blade,  wanting  now,  of  course,  in  that  volume  and 
power  which  age  and  time  will  give,  yet  sufficient  for  all 
practical  purposes  ;  of  course,  furthermore,  not  so  full  in  the 
lower  register  as  it  will  be  in  time.  She  reminds  us  much  of 
Adelina  Patti,  as  to  the  quality  of  her  voice,  and  indeed  in 
her  execution,  which  is  finished  and  thoroughly  artistic, 
savoring  little  of  the  novice,  but  worthy  of  the  experience  of 
a  longer  ^tudy  and  a  maturer  age.  Everything  attempted  is 
done  with  admirable  precision,  neatness,  and  brilliancy  that 
leave  little  to  be  desired.  In  the  opening  cavatina,  O  luce 
di  quest  anima,  she  exhibited  at  once  these  qualities,  giving  the 
air  in  a  way  that  brought  down  the  house  in  spontaneous 
applause.  As  she  proceeded,  she  evinced  a  rare  dramatic 
talent,  and  an  apparent  familiarity  with  the  business  of  the 
stage  that  was  truly  remarkable.  The  grace  and  simplicity 
of  manner  that  mark  her  are,  however,  native  and  not  ac- 
quired, and  seem  a  real  gift  of  nature.  Through  all  the 
changes  of  the  opera  she  showed  herself  always  equal  to  the 
demands  of  the  scene ;  so  that,  as  an  actress,  we  should  set 
her  down  as  possessed  of  a  rare  instinct,  if  not,  indeed,  of 
positive  genius." 

She  had  an  equal  success  in  "  La  Somnambula  ;  "  but  the 
war  ended  the  season  abruptly.     She  was  re-engaged  for  the 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  369 

next  year,  and  in  1863  she  signed  a  contract  for  the  following 
three  years.  In  1862  she  assumed  the  part  of  Violetta 
in  "  La  Traviata,"  and  the  "  Albion  "  remarked  of  her  appear- 
ance :  "  Miss  Kellogg,  whose  dramatic  aptness  has  been  a 
most  noticeable  trait  of  her  career  so  far  ...  in  the  final 
scene,  by  clear,  steady  vocal  flights,  placed  herself  above 
almost  every  Violetta  we  have  heard ; "  while  another 
authority  said  :  "  Her  song  seems  an  outburst  of  the  fulness 
of  melodious  life,  and  as  if  she  could  no  more  help  singing 
than  the  song-sparrow  which  fills  the  leafless  woods  of  early 
spring  with  its  thrilling  notes."  Of  her  Amina,  at  this 
period,  the  "Home  Journal"  said:  "She  carries  the  realism 
which  specially  characterizes  certain  interpretations  of  hers 
to  the  fullest  extent  in  the  action  of  the  part.  Her  sleep- 
walking never  swerved  from  the  strange  rhythmical  step  of 
the  actual  somnambulist.  The  method  of  her  vocalization  is 
throughout  that  of  the  unconscious  talker  in  sleep.  Her 
waking  scenes  are  deliciously  sung,  and  in  point  of  passionate 
acting  inimitable." 

The  hold  that  she  had  now  acquired  upon  the  public  was 
shown  when,  in  1863,  we  find  the  Boston  "Journal,"  saying 
her  "All,  non  giunge  was  an  exhibition  of  vocalism,  and  of 
acting  as  well,  that  makes  the  heart  of  an  American  swell 
with  pride,"  The  "  Post,"  after  speaking  of  her  finish  and 
force,  said  of  her  Lady  Henrietta  that  she  "  was  all  sunshine 
and  music.  She  sang  with  heart,  and  acted  with  spirit,  and 
was  charming  in  a  thousand  and  one  nameless  by-plays.  Her 
sparkling  eyes,  vivacious  manners,  and  buoyant  spirits  told 
effectively  on  her  audience.  The  'Last  Rose  of  Summer' 
was  sung  with  exquisite  sweetness  and  grace."  And  again 
the  same  critic  said  :  "  As  Linda  she  is  magnificent ;  and  so 
thought  an  audience  that  sat  enraptured  under  the  exhaustless 
melody  of  her  rich,  sympathetic  voice."  Of  her  Zerlina  in 
"Don  Giovanni,"  the  "World"  of  New  York,  said  she  "ob- 
tained the  most  artistic  success  of  'the  evening,  acting  well 
and  singing  better;  her  'Batti,  Batti,'  gained  her  a  universal 
recall."  And  the  Philadelphia  "Press"  declared:  "She 


370  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

carried  her  audience  away  with  her.  She  was  born  and  will 
remain  a  dramatic  songstress.  Her  career  in  America  has 
been  most  unequivocally  successful.  Her  sway  over  an 
audience  is  a  sceptre."  I  have  made  these  quotations  because 
they  are  words  carrying  far  more  authority  than  any  opinion 
of  my  own,  and  because  they  show  the  drift  of  contempo- 
raneous feeling.  The  pride  and  satisfaction  which  the  people 
felt  in  her  was  manifested  by  a  constant  iteration  of  the  fact 
that  she  was  a  purely  American  product,  and  had  received 
none  of  her  education,  musical  or  histrionic,  elsewhere  than 
in  America,  and  that  she  was  a  living  refutation  of  all  foreign 
impertinences  in  relation  to  us  as  crude  and  ignorant  in  the 
direction  of  art. 

It  wag  in  1864  that  she  put  the  crown  upon  her  perform- 
ances in  the  creation  of  the  part  of  Marguerite  in  "  Faust," 
which  she  sang  twenty-eight  times  in  one  season.  To  create 
a  part  is  the  work  of  a  great  artist,  and  few  are  the  prima- 
donnas  of  the  day  that  have  done  so.  "Faust  "had  never 
been  played  in  this  country,  and  in  Europe  only  by  its  origi- 
nal interpreter,  Mdme.  Miolan-Carvalho.  Miss  Kellogg  was 
obliged  to  interpret  the  rdle  without  the  benefit  of  instruction 
or  tradition.  She  had  no  model  or  teacher  of  any  kind,  not 
even  the  hearsay  of  older  artists ;  her  own  genius  and  inspi- 
ration gave  it  birth.  She  had  then  sung  not  quite  three  years. 
There  was  an  almost  universal  concern  felt  in  the  fact  when 
it  was  learned  that  she  was  studying  the  part ;  the  country 
seemed  full  of  an  affectionate  personal  interest  in  the  young 
girl.  During  her  study,  one  would  say,  everybody  wished  to 
do  something  to  help  her  success ;  she  received,  both  from 
people  she  knew  and  from  strangers,  copies  of  various  edi- 
tions of  Goethe's  poem,  and  numberless  illustrations  of  it  also 
by  famous  artists ;  hints  and  suggestions  poured  in  upon 
her  from  the  most  unexpected  sources ;  the  excitement  was 
more  intense  than  it  has  ever  been  over  any  similar  event ; 
and  when  at  last  she  appeared  before  the  footlights  of 
the  Academy  of  Music  in  New  York,  in  the  presence  of 
a  most  notable  audience,  in  this  most  poetical  of  all  the 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  371 

parts  prima-donna   ever   sang,   her   triumph   was   tremend- 
ous. 

As  much  as  her  success  had  been  anticipated,  it  remained  a 
matter  of  wonderment  that  a  girl  reared  in  the  puritanical 
traditions  of  New  England,  who  had  never  been  out  of  her 
own  country,  who  had  been  kept  from  all  that  knowledge  of 
the  world  which  brushes  the  bloom  from  the  young  nature, 
had  been  able  from  her  own  imagination  to  present  the  ideal 
of  so  subtle  a  character  as  that  of  Goethe's  heroine.  It 
would  not  have  been  so  surprising  in  a  European  peasant ;  for 
something  of  the  atmosphere  of  old  legend  would  reach  even 
the  peasant  of  those  meridians.  There  were  not  two  opinions 
about  her  success.  "  The  portrait,"  wrote  Mr.  Wheeler  in  a 
leading  periodical,  "  had  the  instant  cogency  of  a  homogene- 
ous work,  artistically  conceived  and  poetically  colored.  The 
music  exhibited  for  the  first  time  the  quality,  fluency,  com- 
pass, and  culture  of  an  exceptional  voice.  The  critics  who 
desired  the  sensuous  mellifluence  of  Grisi,  the  power  of  Cata- 
lani,  and  the  execution  of  Persiani,  in  the  debutante,  were 
willing  to  acknowledge  in  Qretchen  a  vocal  excellence  distinct 
and  even  new.  What  Miss  Kellogg's  voice  at  this  time 
lacked  in  color  and  breath,  it  made  up  in  fineness  and  purity. 
What  her  impersonation  wanted  in  organic  ardor  it  supplied 
in  accuracy,  delicacy,  and  finesse.  She  may  not  have  shown 
in  Gretchen  the  force  of  an  impulsive,  mimetic  nature,  but 
she  evinced  the  possession  of  a  chaste,  creative  imagination 
and  a  subordinating  intelligence.  There  was  reason  no  less 
than  sentiment ;  and  it  is  worth  noting  that  no  artist  who  has 
since  essayed  this  same  part  for  us  has  so  succeeded  in  deli- 
cately conveying  what  seems  to  be  the  poet's  ideal.  .  .  . 
With  Miss  Kellogg  there  was,  throughout  the  performance, 
an  exquisite  reference  to  the  supernatural  character  of  the  in- 
fluences that  were  surrounding  her.  This  spirituality  lifted 
the  role  at  once  out  of  the  purely  objective  domain  of  melo- 
drama into  the  region  of  poetry,  where  Individual  facts  are 
of  less  import  than  general  truths.  'I  have  seen,'  wrote 
to  Berlioz,  a  celebrated  virtuoso,  who  was  here  at  the  time,  'a 


372  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

young  girl,  who  is  little  better  than  an  amateur,  enact  the 
part  of  Marguerite  in  M.  Gounod's  recent  setting  of  "  Faust," 
and  I  have  been  both  surprised  and  charmed  by  the  delicious 
skill  with  which  she  has  apprehended  and  made  obvious  those 
subtler  nuances  of  the  poet  which  I  believed  were  beyond  the 
reach  of  lyric  or  mimetic  art.' "  Of  this  wondrous  impersona- 
tion the  critic  of  the  "  Tribune,"  an  exacting  one,  declared 
that  "  she  literally  warbled  the  delicious  music,  so  liquidly  the 
notes  fell  from  her  lips.  Perfect  purity  of  intonation,  light 
and  well-articulated  execution,  the  utmost  purity  of  taste,  and 
a  naive,  delicious,  and  impassioned  manner,  distinguished  her 
personation  of  Marguerite.  We  have  seen  nothing  more 
maidenly,  tender,  and  delicately  passionate  than  her  whole 
bearing  in  her  interview  with  Faust.  It  was  a  flash  of  pure 
nature,  touching  at  once  the  sympathizers  of  the  audience  and 
calling  forth  murmurs  of  irrepressible  admiration.  It  was  a 
masterpiece  of  lyric  and  dramatic  power."  Another  musical 
connoisseur  felt  obliged  to  say,  in  more  charming  compliment 
than  singer  ever  had  before,  that,  "The  exquisite  quality  and 
purity  of  her  voice,  its  sweet  and  gentle  character,  and  its 
thrilling  sympathetic  power,  are  so  aptly  united  to  a  faithful 
rendition  of  this  part,  that  it  would  seem  as  though  both  the 
poet  and  the  composer  had  written  it  for  her  in  place  of  her 
having  created  it  for  them."  The  newspapers,  over  and  above 
their  own  critical  remarks,  were  besieged  with  mpre  commu- 
nications than  they  could  print,  respecting  the  excellence  of 
the  rendition,  one  correspondent  calling  it  the  greatest  dra- 
matic triumph  since  Miss  Heron  woke  to  find  the  city  at  her 
feet;  and  another  sending  a  little  jeu  $  esprit:  — 

"  When  Kellogg  sat  and  spun 

And  sang  the  song  of  Thule, 

We  felt  the  lifelike  tale  begun, 

The  key  was  struck  so  truly. 

"If  Goethe's  soul  could  view, 

With  us,  the  passing  glory, 
He'd  see  the  Margaret  that  he  drew 
Rise,  living,  from  his  story ! " 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  373 

From  one  end  of  the  country  to  the  other,  wherever  she 
appeared,  the  air  rang  with  plaudits.  In  Boston  the  audi- 
ences were  wild  with  eagerness ;  ladies  crowding  the  aisles 
and  standing  through  the  entire  opera  were  no  infrequent 
sight  there,  and  hundreds  were  turned  away  from  the  doors, 
as  they  had  been  in  New  York,  where,  at  the  dense  matinees, 
throngs  of  ladies  appeared  frantic  for  either  seats  or  standing- 
room.  The  modest  little  girl  who  sang  Gil  da  to  icicles  three 
years  before  would  never  have  supposed  it  could  be  herself 
causing  such  animated  scenes  in  Irving  Place,  before  the 
opera,  when  coachmen  and  policemen  and  an  army  of  car- 
riages depositing  their  gay  loads,  made  outcry  and  confusion 
for  an  hour  or  more.  "The  interpretation  of  Goethe's  Mar- 
garet by  Miss  Kellogg  has  caused  ' Faust'  to  be  the  most 
attractive  opera  of  the  season,  and  filled  the  house  to  over- 
flowing on  each  night  of  its  representation,"  wrote  the  Boston 
correspondent  of  the  "Evening  Post."  "But  it  is  Margaret 
who  holds  in  her  slender  hand  the  chain  which,  encircling  the 
vast  audience,  strikes  through  thousands  of  hearts  the  electric 
spark  of  sympathy.  The  innocence,  sweetness,  and  pathos 
of  Margaret  could  only  be  fitly  represented  by  one  whose 
own  nature  corresponded  to  all  those  elements,  and  as  in  the 
first  act  the  gentle  and  lovely  presence  passed  over  the  stage, 
shrinking  from  the  contact  of  the  crowd,  uttering  only  a  few 
notes,  we  acknowledge  '  Sure,  something  holy  lodges  in  that 
breast.'  Through  all  the  succeeding  scenes  Miss  Kellogg's 
insight  into  the  nature  of  Margaret  never  fails.  The  element 
of  holiness  is  always  present  to  our  thoughts,  even  amid  her 
direst  temptations  and  darkest  trials,  while  the  musical  tones, 
tender,  trustful,  agonized,  come  to  us  as  the  true  source 
of  such  emotions.  .  .  .  Miss  Kellogg  restored  to  us  the 
meaning  of  the  poem,  that  there  is  an  innate  power  in 
innocence  to  put  down  Satan  under  her  feet ;  for  although 
Margaret  dies  on  the  floor  of  a  dungeon,  as  a  criminal  in  the 
eyes  of  the  world,  it  needed  not  the  visible  presence  of  angels 
to  assure  us  that  the  pure  in  heart  shall  see  God."  Mr. 
Longfellow,  in  fine,  expressed  the  sentiment  of  everybody 


374  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

when,  in  a  note  to  Mr.  Fields,  which  she  keeps  as  an  auto- 
graph, he  said  :  "  Her  Margaret  was  beautiful.  She  reminded 
me  of  Dryden's  lines  : — 

"  'So  poised,  so  gently,  she  descends  from  high, 
It  seems  a  soft  dismission  from  the  sky.' " 

Subsequently,  and  when  the  charms  of  all  rival  prima-donnas 
had  been  tested,  the  Goethe  Club,  at  the  dedication  of  a  statue 
of  the  poet,  choosing  William  Cullen  Bryant  as  the  orator 
and  Bayard  Taylor  as  the  poet  of  the  occasion,  requested  her 
assistance,  saying  they  were  emboldened  to  make  the  request 
by  the  fact  that  the  greatest  of  Goethe's  feminine  ideals  had 
found  through  her  its  truest  and  most  inspired  interpretation  on 
the  lyric  stage. 

At  the  close  of  her  season  in  New  York,  this  triumphant 
year,  as  Miss  Kellogg  came  before  the  curtain  in  answer  to 
repeated  calls,  M.  Maretzek  stepped  after  her,  and  presented 
her,  in  the  name  of  the  stockholders  of  the  Academy,  as  evi- 
dence of  their  appreciation  of  her  as  an  artist  and  a  lady, 
with  a  ring  and  bracelet  of  superb  diamonds.  Such  testi- 
monials, however,  the  traditional  treasure  of  prima-donnas, 
became  a  common  thing  as  she  went  on.  The  St.  Louis 
people  gave  her,  when  singing  in  "Don  Giovanni,"  a  massive 
gold  chain  and  inscribed  medallion,  after  ovations  of  flowers  ; 
and  in  New  York,  while  singing  "L'Etoile  clu  Nord,"  a  bunch 
of  white  roses  was  tossed  to  her,  among  which  nestled  a 
humming-bird  holding  a  diamond  cross  in  his  bill.  Later 
were  offerings  of  still  costlier  jewels  from  the  Princess  of 
Wales  and  other  foreign  dignitaries,  while  bouquets  and  bas- 
kets and  pyramids  of  flowers,  some  of  them,  as  the  news- 
papers delicately  said  next  day,  costing  from  fifty  to  two 
hundred  dollars,  were  the  events  of  every  appearance.  She 
had  already  valuable  possessions  in  her  stage  paraphernalia, 
among  them  a  crown  of  amethysts  set  in  a  fragile  gold  fili- 
grane,  to  which  a  romantic  history  is  attached.  In  this  opera, 
"L'Etoile  du  Nord,"  she  exhibited  an  exquisite  purity  and 
melodiousness  of  voice,  an  irreproachable  method,  and  a 
surprising  brilliance  and  facility  of  execution. 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  375 

It  was  now  acknowledged  that  Miss  Kellogg  had  one  of 
the  purest  high  soprano  voices  on  any  stage,  and  was  a  bravura 
singer  surpassed  by  none  living  or  dead ;  that  her  ear  was 
precisely  correct,  and  that  she  was  ruled  by  no  false  ambi- 
tions, but  by  a  lofty  love  of  her  art ;  that,  in  short,  as  it  has 
been  beautifully  said  of  her,  she  was  less  a  lyric  queen  than 
a  lyric  priestess ;  her  domain  the  boundless  one  of  pure 
music,  and  that  she  rested  her  claim  to  recognition  on  no  per- 
sonal graces  or  attractions,  but  on  conscientious  and  complete 
Avork  alone.  The  purity  of  her  musical  method,  which  never 
allows  her  to  overload  a  measure  with  ornament  not  to  the 
purpose,  is  only  equalled  by  her  fidelity  to  detail  in  action 
and  in  dress.  It  may  be  trivial,  but  it  demonstrates  this 
peculiarity  of  hers,  to  relate  that  when,  on  a  benefit  night,  with 
a  programme  in  which  scenes  from  "Traviata"  and  "Faust" 
followed  one  another,  and  she  was  obliged  to  change  her 
toilet  rapidly,  laying  aside  the  gorgeous  ball-robes  of  Vio- 
letta  for  the  peasant's  dress  of  Marguerite,  whose  russet  leather 
shoes  had  been  mislaid,  she  was  in  a  terror  lest  she  should  be 
late,  and  some  one  suggested  that  she  should  retain  ViolettcCs 
pale-blue  satin  shoes,  which  really  matched  the  border  of 
Marguerite's  dress,  and  were  not  very  noticeable.  w  Who  ever 
heard,"  she  cried,  "of  a  burgher  maiden  going  to  church  in 
satin  slippers?"  Miss  Kellogg's  memory,  moreover,  was  as 
prodigious  as  her  work  was  faithful ;  she  knew  not  only  her 
own  part  but  the  whole  opera,  and  was  wont  to  conduct,  as 
one  might  almost  say,  a  large  measure  of  the  performance 
herself,  prompting,  suggesting,  and  maintaining  the  key, —  a 
thing  remarkable  for  its  unselfish  devotion  to  art  itself  instead 
of  the  usual  devotion  to  personal  success  alone. 

I  remember  her  well  at  this  happy  period  of  her  life. 
Success  had  not  spoiled  her,  as  it  never  can  spoil  her.  She 
was  but  a  trifle  turned  of  twenty, —  modest,  natural,  and 
unaffected  to  a  degree,  radiant  with  simple  happiness,  receiving 
admiration  that  was  almost  adoration  with  a  sort  of  surprised 
sweetness,  taking  a  girlish  interest  in  the  delayed  affairs  of 
youth ;  all  alive  and  tingling,  too,  with  her  music,  singing 


376  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

to  friends  on  the  off-nights  of  the  opera  as  if  she  were  the 
obliging  ballad-singer  of  any  parlor,  and  obedient  to  her 
worshipping  but  far-sighted  mother  as  a  child  of  ten  might 
be.  It  was  only  an  example  of  her  happiness  overflowing  in 
abundant  kindness  towards  everybody,  when  one  night,  as 
she  sang  "Trovatore,"  with  an  abandon  that  was  a  revelation  of 
unexpected  power,  returning  to  the  prima-donna's  room,  she 
saw  another  singer,  —  one  who  had  once  reigned  supreme  in  that 
room  herself,  whose  fame  had  been  world- wide,  but  from 
whom  years  had  robbed  her  glory, —  turn  to  go  upstairs,  and 
she  sprang  after  the  fallen  queen,  and  insisted  she  should 
reoccupy  her  old  quarters  with  herself;  a  trifle,  to  be  sure, 
but  showing  the  same  generous  spirit  that  has  poured  plenty 
into  the  lap  of  more  than  one  poor  singer's  family,  and  never 
whispered  of  the  act.  She  had  just  produced  her  second 
creation,  the  part  of  Annetta  in  "  Crispino  e  la  Comare,"  in 
which  she  displayed  a  rare  capacity  for  comedy,  playing  most 
piquantly,  and  singing  the  gay  music,  in  which  is  a  gondola- 
song  in  the  Venetian  dialect,  so  charmingly  as  to  be  applauded 
to  the  echo.  There  was  something  exceedingly  satisfactory 
in  the  sight  of  her  innocence  and  joyousness,  and  the  thought 
of  her  faithfulness  to  the  obligations  of  her  genius,  —  a  genius 
that  sparkled  in  the  light  coquetry  of  the  Zerlina  of  ff  Fra 
Diavolo,"  glowed  with  a  superb  strength  of  flame  in  the 
passionate  Leonora,  and,  as  Mr.  Wheeler  asserted,  com- 
passed in  its  splendor,  when  she  sang  the  Zerlina  and  the 
Donna  Anna  of  "  Don  Giovanni,"  or  the  Filina  of  "  Mignon/ 
all  the  distance  between  the  immortal  song  and  joy  of  Mozart 
and  the  temporary  pleasures  of  Ambroise  Thomas. 

It  was  in  1867  that  she  signed  an  engagement  to  sing  for 
Mr.  Mapleson  in  Her  Majesty's  Theatre,  London,  sailing  in  the 
"  Russia."  She  made  her  dgbut  there  as  Marguerite  ;  at  once, 
by  the  deed,  throwing  down  her  challenge  to  the  lyric  world  ; 
for  in  this  part  she  had  to  confront  recent  recollections  of 
Patti,  Lucca,  Miolan-Carvalho,  Nilsson,  and  Titiens.  The 
house  that  night  was  crowded,  brilliant,  and  enthusiastic  ;  the 
applause  was  deafening ;  the  Prince  of  Wales  congratulated 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  377 

her,  and  the  impression  she  made  was  immense  as  a  brilliant 
singer  and  a  consummate  actress.  "  Her  voice,"  said  the 
authoritative  critic  of  the  "Standard,"  "is  a  high  soprano  of 
the  most  brilliant  and  sympathetic  quality,  as  fresh  as  a  lark's, 
and  invariably  in  tune  ;  "  and  elsewhere  the  same  critic  wrote  : 
"  She  possesses  a  voice  of  rare  quality,  silver-bright,  liquid, 
and  emotional  to  a  degree.  She  sings  with  art,  feeling, 
judgment,  and  supreme  taste."  The  "  News  "  asserted  that  her 
performance  compared  with  that  of  any  of  her  predecessors, 
and  that  she  was  an  example  of  finished  training  in  the  best 
school ;  the  "  Era  "  assured  her  that  she  need  fear  no  com- 
parison ;  the  "  Review "  pronounced  her  bravura  singing  in 
florid,  ornamental  passages  to  have  a  distinctness  and  com- 
pleteness of  style  seldom  realized,  while  her  shake  was 
irreproachable  in  closeness,  evenness,  and  intonation ;  and 
Mr.  Davidson,  the  severe  and  unapproachable  critic  of  the 
ff  Times,"  declared  that,  coming  so  entirely  without  the  con- 
ventional puff  preliminary,  the  debut  was  in  the  strictest 
sense  legitimate,  and  she  had  achieved  a  brilliant  and  unquali- 
fied success ;  that,  emotional,  impassioned,  and  strikingly 
picturesque,  she  exhibited  a  high  order  of  dramatic  talent ; 
that  her  voice  was  a  true  soprano — resonant,  flexible  no  less 
than  sympathetic  and  telling,  boasting  the  precious  quality 
of  being  invariably  in  tune,  with  extreme  sensibility  in  canta- 
bile  phrases.  ff  Then  her  articulation  of  the  words,  her  sense 
of  accent,  her  balance  of  phrase  —  alike  in  tempo  giusto,  and 
in  tempo  rubato  —  in  the  strict  division  of  time,  and  in  its 
measurement  at  discretion,  are  irreproachable ;  while  last, 
not  least,  her  pronounciation  of  the  Italian  language  is  so 
uniformly  correct  and  musical  that  she  might  almost  be  taken 
for  an  Italian-born.  .  .  .  When  Mile.  Kellogg  sings  the 
house  is  crowded  ;  and  now  that  Mr.  Mapleson  has  got  hold 
of  the  young  and  fair  American,  he  must  retain  possession 
of  her,  as  of  Falernian  wine,  'under  a  hundred  keys.": 

In  "  Traviata  "  her  success  even  exceeded  that  in  "  Faust," 
and  she  followed  it  by  "Lady  Henrietta"  writh  a  facile 
brilliancy  of  execution,  and  by  "  Linda,"  of  which  the  "  Times  * 


378  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

said  her  performance  was,  with  few  exceptions,  "probably 
the  best  that  has  ever  been  witnessed  on  the  Italian  or  any 
other  stage."  And  Mr.  Smalley  sent  word  home,  "She  has 
filled  the  opera-hous3,  carried  her  audience  by  storm,  and 
delighted  the  critics.  Her  triumph  is  more  decided  than  was 
that  of  Patti  in  her  first  appearance,  and  is  not  less  complete 
than  that  of  Christine  Nilsson,  who  came  over  from  Paris 
last  season." 

It  was  the  Americans  in  England  who  were  more  rejoiced, 
if  possible,  than  Miss  Kellogg  was  herself,  by  this  proud 
success.  They  thronged  to  her  representations,  they  loaded 
her  with  flowers,  they  overloaded  her  with  cordial  expres- 
sions. Mrs.  General  Dix,  Mrs.  Charles  Francis  Adams,  the 
wife  of  our  Minister,  and  others  of  prominence  congratulated 
her  by  letter.  Many  Americans,  indeed,  felt  that  although 
it  was  with  them  that  the  growth  and  expansion  of  the 
dramatic  genius  of  Maria  Felicia  Malibran  took  place,  and 
although  it  was  they  wrho  first  recognized  the  talents  of  Bosio 
and  of  Patti,  nevertheless,  Kellogg  was  the  first  American 
singer  whose  whole  antecedents  and  instruction  belonged  to 
their  shores,  and  who,  born  at  one  end  of  the  country, 
educated  and  brought  out  at  the  other,  and  half  idolized 
throughout  its  extent,  was  utterly  American  and  theirs,  and 
their  gratified  pride  gave  her  something  like  an  international 
position. 

The  burning  of  Her  Majesty's  Theatre  brought  the  season 
to  a  close,  but  Miss  Kellogg  was  re-engaged  for  the  next 
year.  She  opened  in  "  Traviata,"  and  created  &  furore.  Of 
her  Violetta  at  Drury  Lane  the  English  critics  said  she  robbed 
the  part  of  repulsiveness,  and  set  the  cachet  of  innate 
refinement  on  all  she  did.  Of  her  Gilda  they  maintained 
that  it  was  not  perfect  merely,  but  a  new  revelation,  and  there 
was  certainly  no  Gilda  now  to  be  seen  so  tender,  so  engag- 
ing, so  truly  pathetic.  In  "La  Somnambula,"  they  asserted 
her  mingled  terror  and  grief  to  be  as  genuine  a  display  of 
true  passion  as  the  lyric  stage  had  seen  for  many  a  day ;  and 
of  "Le  Nozze  di  Figaro,"  that  a  more  sprightly,  arch,  and 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  379 

eminently  graceful  Susanna,  distancing  all  competitors,  as 
near  perfection  as  can  be  conceived,  was  not  to  be  found, 
nor  had  the  garden-song  been  given  with  purer  vocalization 
and  truer  taste.  They  had  to  thank  the  American  prima- 
donna,  too,  they  acknowledged,  for  the  revival  of  a  racy 
example  of  the  Italian  style  of  half  a  century  back  in  the 
ambitious  part  of  JVinetta,  in  "  La  Gazza  Ladra " ;  and  in 
"  La  Figlia  del  Eeggimento  "  they  found  her  singing  beyond 
all  praise  :  "  Gay  or  sad,  hopeful  or  depressed,  the  music 
was  poured  forth  like  a  nightingale's,  or  as  unpremeditatedly 
as  that  of  Shelley's  Skylark."  Her  Lucia,  meanwhile,  was 
pronounced  a  very  perfect  effort,  in  which  "  she  not  only  sur- 
mounted every  difficulty  for  which  the  composer  is  account- 
able, but  introduced  cadences  and  ornaments  that  only  the 
most  finished  executant  could  attempt.'*  Said  the  "  Standard," 
in  conclusion :  "  Mile.  Kellogg's  success  could  not  possibly 
be  greater.  She  was  recalled  after  every  act,  and  was  received 
each  time  with  genuine  enthusiasm.  At  the  fall  of  the  cur- 
tain, when  she  was  summoned  before  the  footlights,  the  stage 
was  literally  rained  on  with  bouquets,  and  the  scene  forcibly 
reminded  one  of  a  night  during  the  Jenny  Lind  furore,  when 
the  operatic  excitement  was  at  the  fever  height." 

During  these  seasons  she  sang  repeatedly  in  private  con- 
certs under  the  patronage  of  the  royal  family  and  members 
of  the  nobility,  before  the  queen  at  Buckingham  Palace,  and 
at  the  great  Handel  Festival  at  the  Crystal  Palace,  where, 
before  an  audience  of  twenty-three  thousand  people,  and 
with  such  singers  as  Titiens,  Lemmens-Sherrington,  Nilsson, 
Sainton  Dolby,  Carola,  Sims  Keeves,  and  Santley,  her 
rendering  of  "  Oh,  had  I  Jubal's  Lyre  !  "  was  pronounced  one 
of  the  best  and  most  legitimate  specimens  of  Handelian 
singing  of  the  day.  "  The  old  Handelian  fire  was  mainly  felt 
when  Mile.  Kellogg  sang  the  noble  air  from  f  Joshua,' "  said 
a  writer  in  "  Harper's  Magazine,"  in  describing  the  occasion. 
"  Dear  Miss  Kellogg,"  wrote  Mr.  John  Hay  to  her  from 
Vienna,  "  I  believe  you  do  not  read  the  Vienna  papers,  and 
so  will  not  see  what  the  f  Fremdenblatt '  says  of  you  this 


380  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

fine  May  morning.  It  is  so  hearty,  and  yet  so  naive,  that 
I  send  you  a  literal  translation :  '  Miss  Kellogg  is  the  star  of 
the  opera  in  England.  The  enthusiasm  for  this  young  artiste 
is  indescribable.  Miss  Kellogg,  a  most  poetical  apparition, 
eighteen  years  of  age,  is  a  non  plus  ultra  bravura  singer, 
and  strikes  the  Patti  with  her  masterly  song  formally  dead. 
With  her  singing  unites  this  artiste  a  so  sublime  play  that  one 
through  the  same  is  moved  to  tears.  Fraulein  Tietjens,  who, 
as  well,  in  the  same  opera  in  which  Miss  Kellogg  appeared, 
collaborated,  namely  in  Mozart's  "  Don  Juan,"  was,  through 
the  splendor  of  the  young  stranger,  completely  eclipsed.' ': 

During  this  really  colossal  success,  Patti  and  Lucca  were 
singing  at  Co  vent  Garden,  and  Titiens  and  Nilsson  at  Drury 
Lane.  With  these  latter  artists  Miss  Kellogg  alternated 
appearances,  and  in  the  performances  of  "  Don  Giovanni  "  and 
of  the  "Nozze  di  Figaro,"  she  sang  in  conjunction  with  them  ; 
in  the  one  playing  Zerlina  to  Titien's  Donna  Anna  and  Nils- 
son's  Elvira;  and  in  the  other,  Susanna  to  Nilsson's  Chenibino 
and  Titien's  Countess.  Her  repertoire  now  numbered  thirty- 
four  parts,  as  she  sang  in  "Poliuto,"  "Rigoletto,"  "  Som- 
nambula,"  "Lucia,"  "Linda,"  "  Traviata,"  "  La  Figlia  del 
Reggimento,"  "Un  Ballo  in  Maschera,"  "L'Etoile  du  Nord," 
"Don  Giovanni"  (both  Zerlina  and  Donna  Anna),  "Puri- 
tani,"  "Marta,"  "Crispino,"  "Roberto,"'  "Le  Xozze,"  * La 
Gazza  Ladra,"  "  II  Barbiere,"  "Faust,"  "  Fra  Diavolo," 
"Les  Noces  de  Jeannette,"  "Trovatore,"  "Carnival  of  Yen- 
ice,"  "Pipele'e,"  "Don  Pasquala,"  "Mignon,"  "Talisman," 
'"Lily  of  Killarney,"  "Bohemian  Girl,"  ^Flying  Dutchman," 
"Aicla,"  "Huguenot,"  "Carmen,"  and  "Lohengrin."  Offers 
were  made  her  to  sing  at  Paris,  Florence,  St.  Petersburg, 
and  Madrid,  but  she  had  already  signed  an  engagement  to 
sing  in  America  under  the  management  of  Mr.  Strakosch,  and 
she  returned  home  to  receive  a  welcome  which  showed  her 
how  her  country-people  felt  she  had  taken  off  their  reproach 
in  the  eyes  of  the  world. 

The  Academy  held  an  immense  audience  on  the  night  of 
her  reappearance  in  New  York,  and  as  she  came  down  the 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  381 

stage  the  falling  bouquets  almost  hid  her  from  view.  It  was 
several  minutes  before  she  could  cease  her  acknowledgments, 
and  it  was  beyond  her  power  alone  to  clear  the  stage,  even 
by  armfuls,  of  the  flowers  that  were  sent  up  in  pyramids, 
columns,  baskets,  and  wreaths,  with  doves  scattering  tube- 
roses, and  canaries  rivalling  the  prima-donna.  After  this  she 
made  a  triumphal  tour  through  the  land,  —  a  sort  of  royal 
progress.  In  the  next  year  she  sang  in  opera  with  Mdme. 
Lucca,  and  in  1870  she  organized  a  concert  tour  of  her  own. 
Every  movement  she  has  made  has  been  an  upward  one, 
even  when  it  seemed  as  if  there  were  no  further  for  her  to 
go.  "  She  has  gained  every  step  by  industry  and  study. 
There  has  been  no  sentimental  nonsense  expended  on  her. 
She  has  won  honestly  and  fairly  the  first  position,  and  occu- 
pies it  to  the  acceptation  of  every  one.  No  one  has  tried  to 
write  her  up.  There  has  been  but  a  single  effort  to  write  her 
down,  and  it  failed.  What  she  possesses  to-day  she  owes  to 
herself."  When,  in  1870,  she  played  Paulina,  in  "Poliuto," 
the  public  acclaim  verified  the  critic's  statement,  that  her 
acting  throughout  was  "  truthful  and  impassioned ;  she  did 
not  lose  sight  of  the  situation  for  an  instant,  but  kept  the 
cord  tightened  until  the  strain  of  irrepressible  enthusiasm 
severed  the  strands,  and  her  heart  poured  out  in  a  burst  of 
passionate  song  the  words:  '  Oh,  Santa  Melodia!  Celeste 
voluttaf  So  finely  and  truthfully  was  that  rendered  that  it 
excited  a  furore  of  admiration,  and  it  had  to  be  repeated  amid 
shouts  of  brava  and  thunders  of  applause.  It  was  a  supreme 
moment  both  for  the  artists  and  the  public.*  Miss  Kellogg's 
gestures  were  purely  classic  ;  they  demonstrated  the  emotions 
with  striking  fidelity ;  every  movement  was  rounded  and 
beautiful.  Her  poses  were  classic  and  graceful,  and  in  some 
cases  as  beautifully  statuesque  as  those  of  Rachel.  She  sang 
the  music  splendidly,  from  the  first  note  to  the  last;  she 
threw  into  it  all  the  passion  it  required ;  her  phrasing  and 
emphasis  were  admirable.  Her  finish  is  most  elaborate ;  it 
is  hardly  possible  to  select  a  blemish  in  her  intonation,  articu- 
lation, or  execution.  It  was  pure,  beautiful,  and  honest 
24 


382  CLAKA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

singing,  from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  and  we  were  gratified 
to  hear  the  repeated  and  irrepressible  murmurs  of  f  brava,' 
f  bravaj  Avhich  greeted  her  as  point  after  point  of  refined 
beauty  of  execution  and  interpretation  appeared  in  strong 
relief.  Her  voice  is  in  superb  order ;  it  is  full,  melodious, 
and  sympathetic,  and  rang  out  in  passages  of  force  with 
metallic  power  which  surprised  while  it  delighted.  We  must 
name  Pauline  as  the  grandest  of  all  the  successes  that  Miss 
Kellogg  has  yet  achieved." 

In  the  succeeding  years  she  has  never  allowed  herself  to 
rest.  In  1872  she  enjoyed  another  triumphant  season  in 
London,  when  Campanini  made  his  debut,  singing  Edgardo 
to  her  Lucia.  The  "Atlantic  Monthly"  said  of  her,  shortly 
afterward  :  "  The  pure,  penetrating  quality  of  her  voice  seems 
more  beautiful,  if  possible,  than  in  past  seasons.  As  a 
singer,  so  far  as  purity  of  style  and  method  and  fine  sympa- 
thetic musical  expression  go  to  make  one,  we  should  rank 
her  even  above  Madame  Lucca  or  Miss  Nilsson.  Her  singing 
is,  in  fact,  almost  absolutely  faultless."  In  the  winter  of 
1875  she  sang  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  nights.  In  1880 
her  success  in  Vienna,  where  she  alone  of  all  the  troupe  was 
allowed  to  sing  in  Italian,  German  being  the  prescribed 
tongue,  was  colossal.  And  meanwhile  she  has  been  at  the 
head  of  an  enterprise,  which  has  been  as  fertile  in  results  as 
anything  in  her  life,  for  the  introduction  of  English  opera, 
which  she  has  made  familiar  to  the  American  public.  "Into 
this  enterprise,"  says  the  Rev.  O.  B.  Frothingham,  "she 
threw  herself  with  all  her  accustomed  energy,  aided  by  a 
deep  confidence  in  the  musical  appreciation  and  enthusiasm 
of  the  American  people,  assuming  the  direction  of  the  pieces, 
the  training  of  the  singers,  the  translation  of  the  libretti  from 
the  French  or  Italian,  and  in  general  the  conduct  of  the 
business." 

But  great  as  Miss  Kellogg  is  in  her  art,  a  large  affection  is 
given  her  for  the  equally  great  qualities  of  her  heart.  She 
has  never  been  known  to  condemn  a  rival.  Of  Miolan-Car- 
valho  she  wrote  home  :  "  I  don't  think  I  ever  heard  anything 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  383 

more  perfectly  rendered  than  her  singing  of  the  waltz  "  (in 
"Romeo  and  Juliet").  When  a  bouquet  was  once  thrown, 
after  the  curtain  fell,  upon  the  stage  where  she  was  singing 
with  Lucca,  the  curtain  rose  upon  her  clasping  Lucca's  hand 
with  the  flowers  between  them  in  the  clasp.  Everybody 
knows  of  her  goodness  to  debutantes,  of  her  patronage  of 
Lisa  Harris  and  others  when  she  was  quite  young  herself;  of 
her  efforts  to  place  above  want  the  family  of  young  Conly, 
one  of  the  singers  of  her  company  who  was  drowned ;  of  her 
kindness  to  the  superannuated  beneficiaries  of  the  stage. 
She  was  singing  one  night  in  Toledo,  when  a  }~oung  woman 
made  her  way  to  the  anteroom  where  M.  Strakosch  was,  and 
begged  him  to  afford  her  a  hearing,  that  she  might  have  some 
support  in  the  path  she  had  undertaken,  believing  that  she 
had  a  voice  and  determined  to  do  something  with  it,  at  present 
making  her  way  by  singing  to  her  guitar  in  parlor  concerts  at 
one  hotel  after  another,  till  she  should  obtain  money  enough 
to  take  lessons,  being  totally  unacquainted  with  written  mu- 
sic. After  the  concert  Miss  Kellogg  and  the  company  listened 
to  her,  and  found  a  wonderfully  powerful  but  crude  voice, 
sustaining,  even  in  its  untrained  condition,  the  second  B  flat 
above  and  the  C  below ;  and  that  night  Miss  Kellogg  took 
her  home  to  the  hotel  in  the  carriage,  and  the  next  day  sent 
her  to  the  best  masters  of  New  York  for  an  education  at  her 
own  expense. 

How  often  has  not  that  generous  voice  been  heard  in  chari- 
ties ;  and  how  often  in  gracious  acts,  as  when,  Charlotte 
Cushman  playing  Queen  Katharine,  the  voice  that  sang  to 
the  dying  woman  was  Louise  Kellogg's,  that  voice  like  a 
"  silver  bell  struck  with  a  velvet  hammer,"  or  as  it  was  heard 
at  Mr.  Greeley's  funeral.  "  There  was  a  pause  for  a  moment 
before  the  organ  was  heard  again,  and  a  sweet  and  ringing 
voice  broke  out  in  that  grand  song  of  faith  and  tenderness 
and  triumph,  '  I  know  that  my  Redeemer  liveth.'  It  was 
Miss  Kellogg,  who  paid  this  last  touching  tribute  to  one 
whom  she  had  long  known  as  a  dear  personal  friend.  .  .  . 
He  had  conceived  a  strong  regard  for  this  estimable  lady ; 


384  CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG. 

he  spoke  of  her  in  warm  terms  of  praise,  and  during  his 
sickness,  only  a  little  while  before  he  died,  talking  of  remark- 
able women  whom  he  had  known,  he  mentioned  especially 
two  of  whom  his  opinion  was  very  high.  These  were  Mar- 
garet Fuller  and  Clara  Louise  Kellogg.  It  was  no  mere 
artistic  sentiment,  therefore,  which  Miss  Kellogg  threw  into 
the  divine  song  which  she  poured  upon  the  ears  of  that  great 
audience.  There  was  grief  at  her  heart,  for  there  were  tears 
in  her  voice.  When  she  ceased  a  sense  of  inexpressible 
tenderness  seemed  diffused  over  the  whole  house." 

Miss  Kellogg  has  never  married.  I  will  confess  that  I 
have  thought  a  strong  and  tender  passion,  an  experience  of 
that  great  school  of  life  to  be  found  in  marriage,  would  enrich, 
deepen,  and  fortify  her  genius  and  her  art.  But  the  only  pas- 
sion she  has  ever  acknowledged  is  the  love  of  her  music. 
Her  home,  originally  in  New  Hartford,  was  afterwards  for 
many  summers  at  Cold  Springs,  on  the  Hudson,  on  the  estate 
of  Clarehurst,  —  a  delightful  spot  which  she  has  beautified 
through  the  ample  resources  of  the  wealth  she  has  accumu- 
lated,—  lying  on  a  mountain  side  opposite  West  Point,  under 
the  shadow  of  huge  oaks  and  hickories,  and  where  the  view 
outside  is  as  full  of  color  and  splendor  as  the  house  inside  is 
of  music  and  all  the  sweetness  of  domestic  life.  Latterly 
she  has  spent  more  time  at  the  Clarendon  Hotel  in  New  York, 
which  has  been  her  home  to  all  intents  and  purposes. 

The  career  of  Miss  Kellogg  is  one  that  it  is  a  pleasure  to 
contemplate,  and  mention  of  which  I  leave  with  reluctance. 
It  seems  to  me  that  it  will  be  of  immeasurable  use  in  the 
future,  —  a  wise  and  lofty  and  beneficent  example.  Greatly 
endowed  by  nature,  she  has  yet  had  great  difficulties  to  mas- 
ter. That  she  was  an  American  has  militated  against 
her,  except  in  temporary  bursts  and  spasms  of  public  feeling. 
She  had  a  cabal  of  critics  always  to  overcome,  chiefly  foreign- 
ers attached  to  the  great  newspapers,  who  would  not  believe 
good  could  come  out  of  Nazareth,  otherwise  America.  No 
newspaper  was  ever  approached  with  a  consideration  in  her 
behalf,  and  she  had  been  more  than  a  dozen  years  on  the 


CLARA  LOUISE  KELLOGG.  385 

stage  before  she  met  any  of  these  people  personally.  She 
had,  moreover,  a  natural  manner,  wanting  in  the  repose  of 
indifferentism,  full  of  a  certain  nervous  restlessness,  that 
afforded  these  critics  ground  for  accusing  her  of  a  vanity  and 
conceit  absolutely  foreign  to  her  being.  In  truth,  Clara  Louise 
Kellogg  is  totally  without  conceit.  She  never  admits  that  she 
has  done  anything  so  well  that  it  might  not  have  been  done 
better.  She  never  goes  on  the  stage  without  her  heart  in  her 
mouth.  Cruel  words  have  cut  her  to  the  quick ;  she  has 
needed  the  kindest.  Encouragement  has  always  warmed  her, 
and  more  encouragement  would  have  fired  her  to  yet  happier 
heights  than  she  has  reached.  With  all  her  signal  success  no 
audience  has  yet  got  the  best  from  her,  —  that  best  which  she 
could  give  if  she  felt  herself  sustained  in  their  strong  sym- 
pathy to  the  point  of  her  courageous  aspiration  ;  if  they  would 
forget  that  she  did  not  belong  to  the  terra  incognita  of  the 
foreigner,  with  its  charms  of  the  unknown.  To-day  an  audi- 
ence will  raise  the  roof  with  thunders  of  applause ;  to-mor- 
row, she  knows,  its  caprice  will  hesitate  to  dare  to  say  she  is 
better  than  the  best  because  she  is  one  of  themselves.  She 
herself  never  had  a  caprice  ;  she  is  an  embodied  conscience  ; 
she  is  amiability  itself;  she  has  carried  on  the  stage,  if  not  in 
such  precise  facts,  yet  in  their  spirit,  the  rearing  of  a  Puritan 
girl  whose  piano,  before  she  went  to  New  York,  was  closed 
on  Saturday  night  and  not  opened  till  Monday  morning.  Ex- 
posed to  every  danger,  there  has  never  in  all  the  years  while 
she  has  been  in  the  blaze  of  the  public  eye,  "  in  the  fierce 
light  which  beats  about  a  throne,"  been  a  blemish  on  her  fair 
fame,  nor  has  the  breath  of  blame  blown  over  her.  When 
will  the  influences  of  the  universe  combine  about  a  wonderful 
throat  again  in  such  self-denying  industry  and  earnestness 
and  will,  such  unsullied  spotlessness,  such  intelligence  and 
spirit,  —  in  short,  in  another  Clara  Louise  Kellogg?  Let  us 
be  thankful  for  her  while  we  may  ;  for  she  is  an  honor  to  her 
household,  a  delight  to  her  friends,  a  glory  to  womankind ! 


CHAPTER  XVII. 
MAKY    A.    LIYEEMOEE. 

BY  ELIZABETH  STUART  PHELPS. 

Mrs.  Livermore's  Ancestry  —  Stories  of  Her  Childhood  —  The  Little  Minister 

—  Her  Marriage  —  Journalistic  Experiences  —  The  War  of  the  Rebellion  — 
Loyalty    and    Devotion    to    the    Union  —  The    Northwestern    Sanitary 
Commission  —  Army   Experiences  —  Incidents  of  Hospital  Life  —  Won- 
derful   Nerve    and    Ready   Resources  in  Emergencies  —  A  Remarkable 
Achievement  —  Mighty   Work    for    Union   Soldiers — Their    Love    and 
Reverence  for  Her  —"Mother"  to  them  All  — Touching  Story  of  a  Sol- 
dier's Ring  —  A  Thrilling  Incident  of  Chicago  Life  —  An  Errand  of  Mercy 

—  Terrible   Death-Bed   Scene  — Labors  after  the  War  — Her  Christian 
Life  and  Influence  —  Work  as  a  Reformer  —  Fame  as  an  Orator  —  Personal 
Appearance  —  Home  Life  —  A  Grand  and  Noble  Woman. 

HERE  is  still  fossil  poetry  left  in  the  too  familiar 
phrase,  "  representative  "  man  or  woman. 

Our  own  country,  yet  young  and  prophetic,  is 
pre-eminently  the  ground  of  experiment.  "  Your 
land  of  the  future,"  George  Eliot  called  it, 
M  America,  is  the  nursery  and  seed-ground  of 
new  ideals,  where  they  can  expand  in  a  better, 
freer  air  than  ours." 

In  looking  over  the  list  of  great  and  gracious 
women  whose  achievements  are  recorded  in  the 
pages  of  this  book,  it  may  be  doubted  if  there  is  one  who 
will  be  found  fifty  years  hence  more  broadly  to  re-present 
the  spirit  of  the  last  twenty  years  of  American  story  than 
her  whose  name  heads  this  commemorative  sketch. 

I  am  enabled  to  give,  in  the  words  of  one  near  to  Mrs. 
Livermore,  a  few  facts  about  her  early  life,  which  are  of  so 
much  interest  as  indicating  the  prophetic  cast  which  strong 
natures  often  take  on  in  childhood,  that  I  can  only  wish  I  had 
threefold  the  space  which  can  be  spared  to  them. 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  387 

Science  teaches  us  nowadays  that  in  order  to  save  a  man 
we  must  convert  his  grandfather ;  and  gives  us,  in  its  own 
despite,  the  strongest  proofs  we  possess  of  the  value  of  relig- 
ious character  as  a  social  factor.  Nothing  so  illustrates  the 
persistence  of  force  as  the  continuity  of  spiritual  fibre.  We 
all  freshly  remember  the  religious  molecules  in  the  brain  of 
Emerson,  who  was  the  result  of  eight  generations  of  Christian 
ministers. 

This  most  womanly  story  of  a  noble  woman  adds  another 
to  the  long  list  of  instances  in  which  a  believing  stock  has 
been  preservative  of  intellectual  vigor. 

"The  parents  of  Mrs.  Livermore,"  I  am  told,  "were  very 
devout,  indeed  stern  in  their  ideas  of  morality  and  religion. 
Her  ancestry  on  her  father's  side  were  Welsh,  on  her  mother's 
side  English,  —  her  maternal  grandfather  having  been  born  at 
London.  He  was  an  East  India  sea-captain.  Her  father 
was  bred  a  Berkshire  farmer  in  Massachusetts."  Further  back 
in  the  ancestral  line  we  find  the  clerical  environment.  "  I 
have  the  blood  of  six  generations  of  Welsh  preachers  in  my 
veins,"  is  the  significant  testimony  of  the  woman  who  packs 
Boston  Theatre  on  Sunday  evening  when  she  talks  on  Immor- 
tality. 

"  Mary  was  born  in  Boston.  She  was  most  rigorously 
trained  from  her  earliest  infancy  in  habits  of  industry  and 
economy,  in  morals,  and  in  the  severe  theology  of  the  day, 
after  the  belief  of  the  Close  Communion  Baptist  Church ; 
while  the  very  best  education  was  given  her  that  the  schools 
of  Boston  and  the  educational  facilities  of  New  England  at 
that  time  afforded  for  girls.  She  does  not  remember  a  time 
when  she  was  not  vitally  concerned  in  all  matters  pertaining 
to  religion,  eager  for  knowledge  and  ambitious  for  study, 
while  there  was  no  possibility  of  her  shirking  her  daily  allot- 
ment of  work  in  her  father's  household. 

"  The  oldest  surviving  child  of  a  family  of  six,  she  always 
exercised  a  mother's  care  over  her  younger  sisters.  Before 
she  wTas  ten  years  old  she  was  harassed  by  wakeful  nights 
of  anxiety  for  them,  when  she  would  arouse  her  parents  in  the 


388  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

middle  of  the  night,  asking  them  to  pray  for  these  little  sisters 
that  they  might  become  good  women  and  be  eternally  saved 
in  heaven.  When  asked  if  the  same  prayer  should  not  be 
made  in  her  own  behalf,  she  gave  this  characteristic  answer : 
'  'Tisn't  any  matter  about  me  ;  if  they  are  saved  I  can  bear 
anything.'" 

Pretty  stories  are  told  us,  too,  of  the  little  girl's  being 
followed  to  and  from  school,  by  a  procession  of  timid  chil- 
dren, the  weak,  or  sick,  or  poor  and  ill-dressed,  or  otherwise 
"  unfit,"  who  were  worsted  by  the  ridicule  or  insult  of  their 
rougher  and  tougher  mates.  Mary's  presence  was  "hands 
off"  to  the  biggest  bully,  and  protection  to  the  feeblest  of  her 
dependents.  "  She  took  the  law  into  her  own  hands,  and 
was  judge,  jury,  and  executioner  to  the  unlucky  boy  who 
attempted  any  insult  to  her  dubious  procession  of  ragged  and 
unkempt  children." 

These  little  tales  read  like  a  legend  from  the  annals  of 
chivalry ;  or  like  a  prophecy  from  the  Old  Testament  pre- 
ceding the  Gospel  of  a  beautiful  life.  What  wonder  that  a 
friend  says  of  her  to-day  :  "  It  is  doubtful  if  there  is  another 
woman  of  the  day  who  is  more  sought  by  forlorn  and  friend- 
less women  —  women  needing  comfort,  encouragement, 
assistance ;  women  bankrupt  in  character,  charged  with 
crime,  and  awaiting  trial ;  women  who  are  called  '  outcast,' 
and  who  are  on  the  verge  of  suicide  —  than  the  subject  of 
this  sketch.  .  .  .  It  is  literally  true  of  her  that  never 
yet  in  her  life  has  she  turned  away  either  man  or  woman  who 
had  sought  her  in  distress." 

The  favorite  amusement  of  the  little  Calvinist  was  playing 
at  meeting,  and  she  who  to-day  holds  an  audience  from  the 
platform  or  pulpit,  better  perhaps  than  any  other  living 
woman,  began  to  train  herself  for  her  vocation  b}^  practising 
(in  default  of  other  hearers)  on  the  sticks  and  logs  arrayed 
in  her  father's  wood-shed.  She  writes  now  and  then  from 
some  point  in  her  yearly  lecturing  tours  that  she  "  has  met 
some  members  of  one  of  her  old  wood-shed  audiences,  but 
has  not  always  been  sure  whether  these  were  blockheads  or 


MARY    A.    LIVERMORE 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  391 

lager-beer  barrels."  Her  father  used  to  say  :  "  If  you  had 
only  been  a  boy  I  would  have  educated  you  for  the  ministry." 

We  read,  it  is  true,  of  one  secular  encroachment  upon 
these  "  sad  amusements,"  in  the  shape  of  a  wax  doll  which 
did  duty  as  a  worldly  diversion  for  a  time.  But  a  little  heap 
of  ashes  was  discovered  one  day  in  the  back-yard,  where,  it 
was  learned,  the  recantation  of  Cranmer  had  been  enacted  be- 
fore admiring  spectators.  The  archbishop  met  the  fate  of  a 
heretic  with  great  historical  accuracy  and  religious  fervor, 
but  the  unfortunate  five-dollar  French  doll  was  missing  from 
the  scene  of  her  brief  domestication  in  that  family. 

An  impressive  account  of  the  "  Play  of  the  Resurrection," 
one  of  the  diversions  out  of  which  the  sternly-reared  child 
managed  to  wring  her  unyouthful  pleasures,  has  seemed  to  me 
too  interesting  to  be  set  aside.  It  is  thus  described  :  — 

"  In  order  to  reach  the  play  it  was  necessary  that  one  of 
the  children  should  be  taken  sick,  and  the  usual  programme 
follows.  The  doctor  was  summoned,  the  pulse  and  tongue 
were  examined,  medicines  were  prescribed  and  taken  without 
any  benefit ;  the  doctor  finally  abandoned  all  hope,  and  amid 
well-counterfeited  grief  that  sometimes  became  so  real  as  to 
lead  to  violent  weeping,  the  little  patient  died.  Then  came  the 
preparation  for  burial.  The  eyes  were  closed  and  the  lids 
weighted  with  coins,  the  hands  folded  on  the  breast,  the  body 
arrayed  in  a  long  night-dress,  and  all  moved  about  solemnly 
and  sadly. 

"  Then  came  the  funeral,  Mary  officiating  as  the  minister, 
with  prayer  and  addresses.  All  sang  a  dolorous  hymn  to  a 
dolorous  tune,  and  the  procession  was  formed,  which  marched 
slowly  and  tearfully  through  the  chamber  to  a  back  square 
bedroom  given  up  for  a  play-room.  It  had  a  large  wide  fire- 
place closed  with  a  fire-board,  and  its  windows  were  dark- 
ened by  green  shutters,  a  heart-shaped  aperture  in  the  top  of 
each  admitting  the  only  light.  The  fireplace  had  been  cleansed 
and  painted  black  for  the  children's  convenience,  for  the  fire- 
place was  the  tomb  where  now  the  pretended  dead  child  was 
buried,  all  the  ghastly  formalities  of  the  times  being  faithfully 


392  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

copied,  and  then  with  great  grief  the  fire-board  —  the  door  of 
the  tomb  —  was  put  in  its  place,  and  the  funeral  procession 
returned  to  the  front  of  the  house  in  the  order  in  which  it  had 
come. 

"  All  this  was  preliminary.  Now  the  real  play  began. 
The  green  window-shutters  were  tightly  closed,  even  the 
heart-shaped  apertures  for  lights  were  shaded  —  the  room  was 
made  as  dark  as  possible,  and  then,  all  being  ready,  one  of 
the  boys  at  the  upper  stairway  gave  the  signal,  a  prolonged 
blast  on  a  trumpet.  This  was  Gabriel,  announcing  the  end 
of  the  world,  and  the  coming  resurrection.  Nearer  came  the 
trumpets  —  louder  grew  the  blast  —  and  as  it  entered  the 
darkened  room  the  window-shutters  were  suddenly  thrown 
back  with  great  clatter,  the  fire-board  was  dashed  down  with 
great  noise  at  the  same  moment  by  the  occupant  of  the  fire- 
place, who,  arrayed  in  the  burial  garments,  sprang  into  the 
middle  of  the  room,  whither  now  all  the  children  sprang, 
with  arms  and  eyes  uplifted,  all  bursting  out  into  a  jubilant 
song  of  welcome,  which  grew  louder  and  faster  as  the  ex- 
citement increased,  and  their  emotions  became  more  vehe- 
ment. 

"I  have  heard  Mrs.  Livermore  say  that  no  spectacular  play 
she  has  ever  witnessed,  has  thrilled  and  excited  her  as  did 
this  f  Play  of  the  Resurrection '  in  her  childhood." 

The  child's  devotion  to  her  parents,  and  fear  of  making 
trouble,  were  almost  unchildlike.  We  hear  of  her  as  secretly 
engaging  slop-work,  and  sewing  flannel  shirts  at  night  (until 
parentally  discovered),  to  earn  a  few  shillings  towards  her 
own  support ;  and  as  collecting  and  controlling  a  vacation 
school  of  fifty  little  pupils,  at  twenty-five  cents  a  week,  to 
meet  the  expenses  of  her  own  education.  Here  shows  the 
organizing  fibre  which  afterwards  carried  the  Sanitary  Com- 
mission of  the  great  Northwest  upon  its  broad  shoulders. 

Her  intellectual  vigor  early  developed.  At  a  tender  age, 
we  hear  of  her  being  shut  up  by  her  schoolmaster  with  no- 
thing but  a  dictionary,  and  required  to  write  an  impromptu 
thesis  on  "  Self-government,"  by  way  of  proof  that  her  extraor- 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  393 

dinary  compositions  had  not  been  plagiarisms.  The  result 
acquitted  her  fully  and  finally,  in  the  mind  of  that  teacher. 
At  fourteen  she  graduated  at  the  Hancock  School  with  the 
highest  honors. 

O 

When  Mary  was  seventeen  years  old,  an  event  occurred 
which  more  than  any  other  one  affected  her  inner  and  outer 
life.  A  younger  sister,  greatly  beloved,  after  a  lingering 
illness,  died.  The  life  of  this  child  had  been  one  of  sin- 
gular purity  and  loveliness.  In  character  she  seems  to 
have  been  one  of  the  natural  saints,  or  at  least  of  the  early 
matured  for  the  moral  results  of  death  —  one  of  those  rare 
souls  whom  the  Master  "  beholding,"  would  have  "  loved." 
But  according  to  the  theology  of  the  family,  she  was  not 
"  converted,"  and  by  the  logic  of  theology  she  could  not  be 
saved. 

The  self-sacrificing  sister  faced  this  fact  with  an  anguish 
nothing  less  than  maternal.  No  comfort  approached  her  de- 
spair. She  bore  it,  as  intense  girls  bear  such  things.  The 
little  sister  was  in  hell,  and  she,  Mary,  who  would  have  gone 
there  in  her  stead  as  unhesitatingly  as  she  would  dispose  of 
the  bully  who  abused  a  child  that  trusted  her  at  school, —  she 
could  not  lift  a  muscle  or  use  a  heart-throb  to  prevent  this 
moral  outrage.  So  much  purity  —  so  much  punishment  — 
how  much  God? 

She  faced  her  problem  in  the  solitary  way  that  befalls 
strong  young  natures.  The  wise  and  tender  word  which 
should  have  "  read  his  righteous  sentence"  otherwise  to  the 
desperate  mourner  was  not  spoken.  No  one  gave  her  a 
sane  gospel.  No  one  taught  her  that  when  the  conflict  struck 
between  essential  Love  and  accidental  creed  the  odds  were 
not  in  favor  of  the  creed.  Human  device  had  pitted  itself 
against  Divine  tenderness  ;  and  there  was  no  religious  good- 
sense  at  hand  to  convince  the  tortured  creature  that  God 
Almighty  loved  the  dead  child  better  than  her  father's  min- 
ister. The  inevitable  consequences  racked  the  strong  soul 
and  body  of  the  growing  girl.  Years  of  agony  left  traces 
which  can  be  seen  to  this  day  in  the  trembling  lips  and  solemn 


394  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

appeal  of  the  grave  eye,  with  which  this  epoch  in  life  is 
alluded  to.  She  left  home  the  better  to  fight  her  fight  in  the 
loneliness  which  such  moral  emergencies  demand,  and  for  two 
years  taught  as  governess  in  a  desolate  Virginia  plantation, 
seeking  to  throw  the  turmoil  of  her  nature  into  active  and 
incessant  work. 

It  was  upon  her  return  from  this  Southern  trip  that  chance 
threw  her  in  the  way  of  a  young  Universalist  preacher,  to 
whose  ears  the  story  of  her  experience  was  carried  by  troubled 
friends.  This  was  a  case  which  peculiarly  appealed  to  the 
sectarian  zeal  of  the  minister,  and  it  is  easy  to  see  that  the 
strong  sweetness  and  sweet  strength  of  the  woman  must  have 
presented  more  complicated  problems  to  the  man.  The-  sub- 
ject of  eternal  punishment  was  replaced  by  that  of  eternal 
blessedness,  and  Mary  Ashton  Rice  became  the  wife  of  Rev. 
Daniel  P.  Livermore. 

The  elder  Dumas,  I  think  it  was,  said  of  Michael  Angelo 
—  painter,  architect,  poet,  and  sculptor  —  that  he  had  four 
souls.  We  need  not  climb  as  high  as  Angelo  to  meet  a  com- 
manding versatility  that  can  be  best  described  by  some  such 
phrase.  The  greatest  difficulty  in  dealing  with  a  subject  like 
that  which  is  crowded  into  the  limits  of  this  sketch,  lies  in  the 
variousness  of  this  woman's  claims  to  public  interest. 

Beyond  question  the  first,  if  not  the  strongest  of  these,  is 
to  be  found  in  Mrs.  Livermore's  magnificent  war-record. 

The  years  immediately  preceding  and  succeeding  her 
marriage  were  full  —  such  a  life  could  never  be  empty  —  of 
those  tentative  efforts  which  strong  youth  puts  forth  to  find 
its  footing.  Women  longer  than  men,  (and  women  more 
helplessly  then  than  now),  throw  out  their  intellectual  an- 
tennae, groping  after  the  "  wherefore  "  of  individualism. 

Mrs.  Livermore  taught  and  wrote,  —  as  other  gifted  girls 
teach  and  write,  —  because  these  were  the  only  outlets  for 
superfluous  life  then  possible  to  the  "  ever- womanly."  She 
was  for  some  time  associate  editor,  with  her  husband,  of  "  The 
New  Covenant,"  a  religious  paper  published  at  Chicago.  Her 
newspaper  and  magazine  work  was  industrious,  almost  i 


MARY   A.  LIYERMORE.  395 

sant,  and  kept  in  practice  that  mental  muscle  destined  later 
to  find  its  true  athleticism.  All  this  balancing  of  the  emo- 
tions by  reflection  disciplined  the  young  feminine  exuberance, 
and  prepared  the  way  for  the  future  power ;  it  was  like  the 
prelude  which  it  has  become  usual  to  place  before  certain  lec- 
tures—  so  much  mental  exercise  before  the  real  business  of 
the  day  begins. 

It  should  be  remembered  that  during  these  early  years  of 
her  married  life,  Mrs.  Livermore  was  also  occupied,  like 
other  women,  in  the  cares  of  home-keeping,  and  in  the  rear- 
ing of  her  young  family.  She  is  the  mother  of  three  chil- 
dren ;  one  of  whom  is  no  longer  living. 

So  far  as  the  public  is  concerned,  Mrs.  Livermore's  life 
began  with  her  career  in  the  War  of  the  Rebellion. 

It  was  a  grand  history.  It  is  twenty  years  since  that 
clarion  sounded  which  should  "  never  call  retreat,"  and  our 
hearts  are  growing  a  trifle  dull  to  the  old  war-stories.  Half 
a  million  of  the  men  we  sent  forth  from  North  and  South  are 
in  their  graves  ;  and  the  dead  take  no  trouble  to  remind  us  of 
themselves.  Those  who  returned  to  us  are  beginning  to  drop 
out  of  the  ranks  fast  enough,  and  in  the  press  of  life  we  do 
not  turn  lo  see  who  falls.  Often  the  erect  shoulder  and  the 
direct  eye,  ail  the  signs  left  of  the  soldier  whom  we  gave  with 
tears  and  welcomed  with  huzzas,  pass  us  without  raising  so 
much  as  an  association  with  the  sacrifice  which  we  have  ac- 
cepted at  his  hands.  The  widowed  wives  and  the  widowed 
girls  with  whom  the  war  saddened  the  broad  land,  are  already 
"entering  into  peace" — that  of  eternity,  or  that  of  time,  and 
if  neither  has  comforted  them,  who  stays  to  ask?  Thus  too, 
with  the  army  woman,  she  who  did  what  the  rest  of  us  desired, 
and  carried  womanhood  so  soldierly,  yet  right  womanly,  to 
the  very  front  of  war  —  how  more  than  easy  we  have  found 
it  to  forget  her  in  these  prosperous  years.  How  once  we 
honored  her,  sought  her,  envied  and  loved  her,  leaned  on  her 
strength  and  hung  on  her  words.  How  frivolous  seemed  our 
idle  lives  beside  her  own,  how  small  our  motives  and  poor 
our  achievement ;  above  and  beyond  all  else  how  great  our 


396  MARY  A.  LIYERMORE. 

debt !  In  looking  over  the  record  of  the  deeds  of  women  in 
the  nursing  and  sanitary  service  of  the  war,  one  is  sometimes 
blinded  by  tears  that  come  from  the  bottom  of  the  heart,  at 
chancing  upon  some  now  forgotten  name,  some  "ex-lioness" 
of  a  once  grateful  public,  who  compressed  into  those  four 
short  years  poetry,  pathos,  glory,  and  sacrifice  enough  to 
make  the  staple  of  any  dozen  whole  lives  such  as  we  are 
living,  and  are  not  ashamed  to  be  content  with  in  these  later 
days. 

Few  women  in  the  long,  heroic  list  did  a  better,  braver, 
sounder  work  than  Mary  Livermore.  It  should  be  remem- 
bered that  she  gave  her  clear  head,  no  less  than  her  strong 
hands  and  warm  heart,  to  the  emergency.  tf  The  columns  of 
her  husband's  paper,"  we  are  told,  "  furnished  her  the  oppor- 
tunity she  desired  of  addressing  her  patriotic  appeals  to  the 
country,  and  her  vigorous  pen  was  ever  at  work,  both  in  its 
columns  and  those  of  other  papers  open  to  her.  During 
the  whole  war,  even  in  the  busiest  times,  not  a  week  passed 
that  she  did  not  publish  somewhere  two  cr  three  columns 
at  the  least.  Letters,  incidents,  appeals,  editorial  corre- 
spondence—  always  something  useful,  interesting  —  head  and 
hands  were  always  busy,  and  the  implement '  mightier  than 
the  sword'  was  never  allowed  to  rust  in  the  inkstand." 

In  an  article  of  Mrs.  Livermore's,  published  soon  after  the 
fall  of  Fort  Sumter,  we  find  this  vivid  reminiscence  of  those 
fateful  days :  — 

"  But  no  less  have  we  been  surprised  and  moved  to  admira- 
tion by  the  regeneration  of  the  women  of  our  land.  A 
month  ago  we  saw  a  large  class,  aspiring  only  to  be  leaders 
of  fashion  and  belles  of  the  ball-room,  their  deepest  anxiety 
clustering  about  the  fear  that  the  gored  skirts  and  bell-shaped 
hoops  of  the  spring  mode  might  not  be  becoming,  and  their 
highest  happiness  being  found  in  shopping,  polking,  and  the 
schottische  —  pretty,  petted,  useless,  expensive  butterflies, 
whose  future  husbands  and  children  were  to  be  pitied  and 
prayed  for.  But  to-day  we  find  them  lopping  off  superfluities, 
retrenching  expenditures,  deaf  to  the  calls  of  pleasure,  swept 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  397 

by  the  incoming  patriotism  of  the  time  to  the  loftiest  heights 
of  womanhood,  willing  to  do,  to  bear,  or  to  suffer  for  the 
beloved  country.  The  riven  fetters  of  caste  and  conven- 
tionality have  dropped  at  their  feet,  and  they  sit  together, 
patrician  and  plebeian,  Catholic  and  Protestant,  and  make 
garments  for  the  poorly-clad  soldiery.  An  order  came  to 
Boston  for  five  thousand  shirts  for  the  Massachusetts  troops 
at  the  South.  Every  church  in  the  city  sent  a  delegation  of 
needle  women  to  '  Union  Hall,'  a  former  ball-room  of  Boston  ; 
the  Catholic  priest  detailed  five  hundred  sewing-girls  to  the 
pious  work ;  suburban  towns  rang  the  bells  to  muster  the 
seamstresses ;  the  patrician  Protestant  of  Beacon  street  ran 
the  sewing-machines,  while  the  plebeian  Irish  Catholic  of 
Broad  street  basted  —  and  the  shirts  were  done  at  the  rate 
of  a  thousand  a  day.  On  Thursday,  Miss  Dix  sent  an  order 
for  five  hundred  shirts  for  the  hospital  at  Washington  —  on 
Friday  they  were  ready." 

It  is  with  the  work  of  the  United  States  Sanitary  Commis- 
sion that  Mrs.  Livermore,  it  will  be  remembered,  was  most 
closely  identified.  Many  a  brave  woman  found  her  way,  in 
the  teeth  of  shot  and  shell  and  surgeons'  opposition,  to  the 
chartered  nursing  service  along  the  lines.  Many  a  noble 
woman,  sheltered  in  her  own  home,  kept  there,  perhaps,  to 
guard  the  children  whose  father  she  had  sent  to  the  front, 
served  the  Commission  in  the  quiet  ways  without  which  no 
great  undertaking  can  be  supported — knit  the  stockings, 
made  the  clothes,  picked  the  lint,  rolled  the  bandages,  packed 
the  boxes,  collected  the  money  —  those  "  home  ways  "  whose 
name  was  legion,  and  whose  memory  must  not  die.  Mrs. 
Livermore's  work  seems  to  have  been  a  combination  of  home, 
commissary,  and  hospital  service. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  year  1862  the  Northwestern 
branch  of  the  United  States  Sanitary  Commission  was  organ- 
ized at  Chicago.  It  was  an  influential  body. 

Mrs.  Livermore,  with  Mrs.  A.  H.  Hoge,  a  well-known 
army  worker,  were  appointed  agents  of  the  Northwestern 
Commission,  and  went  to  work  as  two  such  women  would. 


398  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

Upon  them  fell  the  yoke  of  organization  —  often  that  heaviest 
of  the  hard,  in  crises  where  the  strain  upon  the  sympathies 
can  only  be  eased  by  a  quick  stroke  and  immediate  response. 
Throughout  the  great  Northwest  Mrs.  Livermore  travelled, 
arousing,  instructing,  and  vivifying  the  people  by  the  painstak- 
ing patience  which  is  the  final  sign  of  strength  in  excitement. 
The  Sanitary  Aid  Societies  sprang  up  under  her  departing 
feet  like  shadows;  the  enthusiasm,  the  ignorance,  the  ardor, 
and  heart-break  of  women  were  ordered  and  utilized,  and 
so  the  great  Commission,  with  the  precision  of  the  Corliss 
engine,  got  to  work. 

In  December  of  1862  the  National  Commission  called  a 
council  at  Washington,  and  appealed  to  the  Branch  Commis- 
sion at  the  North  to  send  two  ladies  practically  familiar  with 
the  work,  as  delegates  to  this  convention.  Mrs.  Livermore 
and  Mrs.  Hoge  were  detailed  for  this  errand.  There  was 
need  of  it,  and  of  them. 

This  was  the  time  when  sanitary  supplies  had  fallen  off, 
and  the  demand  for  them  desperately  increased.  "  One 
and  one,"  says  the  Oriental  proverb,  "make  eleven."  The 
strength  of  union  in  the  Commission,  as  in  the  ranks,  car- 
ried the  hour  over  the  need,  and  the  results  of  this  council 
were  felt  throughout  the  land  like  an  accelerated  pulse. 

It  was  on  this  Washington  trip  that  Mrs.  Livermore 
visited  the  convalescent  camp  at  Alexandria,  known  as  Camp 
Misery.  Here,  from  improper  drainage,  from  actual  lack  of 
fuel,  clothing,  and  food,  our  soldiers  were  slaughtered  like 
slaves  in  an  amphitheatre.  But  here  was  one  woman  to  "  keep 
the  count."  When  she  found  that  eighteen  sick  soldiers  died 
at  that  camp  in  one  night,  from  cold  and  starvation,  the 
country  heard  of  it.  Her  unresting  pen  flew  to  the  help  of  the 
aroused  Commission,  and  "  carried  the  story  of  these  wrongs 
all  around  the  land." 

It  was  early  in  this  year  that  Mrs.  Livermore  was  ordered 
to  make  a  tour  of  the  hospitals  and  military  posts  on  the 
Mississippi  river.  This  brought  her  into  yet  more  direct 
contact  with  army  sufferings.  One  may  doubt  wrhich  was 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  399 

more  to  the  purpose,  among  the  wounded,  homesick, 
neglected  boys,  her  chartered  power  to  relieve  them,  or  her 
womanly  presence  among  them.  She  was  a  fortress  of 
strength  and  a  fountain  of  comfort.  She  was  one  of  the  rare 

o 

women  who  know  how  to  make  feminine  sympathy  tell  with 
masculine  force.  Her  emotions  never  bubbled  over  into 
froth  ;  they  swelled  a  current  of  practical  and  practicable  re- 
lief, as  inevitably  as  healthy  breath  flowed  from  her  broad 
lungs,  or  magnetic  vigor  radiated  from  her  massive  frame. 
Mrs.  Livermore  always  worked  largely ;  small  motives  and 
small  results  seem  as  foreign  to  her  career  as  small  feelings. 
One's  impression  in  reviewing  her  army  record  is  that  she 
served  like  a  General.  She  had  the  broad  sweep  of  eye,  the 
reserve  of  expedient,  and  the  instinct  of  command.  These 
Mississippi  tours,  for  instance,  resulted  in  an  organized  attack 
upon  the  scurvy,  which  was  threatening  the  ranks  to  an  extent 
unstayed,  and  even  unknown  by  the  military  authorities. 

Mrs.  Livermore  and  Mrs.  Hoge,  having  observed  the 
mischief  while  serving  as  agents  at  Washington,  kept  their 
woman's  eyes  well  open,  and  were  quick  to  detect  both  the 
premonitory  and  actual  symptoms  of  the  dreaded  disease  at 
Vicksburg  camps  and  hospitals.  They  personally  explained 
to  General  Grant  the  facts  with  which  his  surgeons  had  not 
acquainted  him.  But  this  was  not  enough.  These  two 
women  did  not  shift  the  responsibility  upon  the  shoulders  of 
the  man,  but  made,  themselves,  trips  up  and  down  the  river, 
whose  object  was  to  arouse  practical  excitement  upon  this 
matter.  Their  appeals,  their  circulars,  their  enthusiasm, 
their  persistence,  and  their  personality  resulted  in  an  out- 
burst of  immediate  relief.  In  three  weeks  over  a  thousand 
bushels  of  potatoes,  onions,  and  other  vegetables  were  sent 
to  the  scurvy-threatened  army,  and  by  their  prompt  distribu- 
tion the  danger  was  averted. 

On  one  of  these  tours  up  the  river,  Mrs.  Livermore  dis- 
covered twenty-three  sick  and%  wounded  soldiers,  who  had 
been  left  at  a  certain  station,  with  the  most  insufficient  care, 
and  not  a  loop-hole  of  escape  by  which  they  could  get  back 
25 


400  MARY  A.  LI  VERM  ORE. 

to  die  among  their  friends.  Their  descriptive  lists  were  with 
their  regiments ;  their  regiments  were  in  the  field ;  no  one 
had  authority  to  discharge  them  ;  home,  with  its  last  comforts 
or  its  desperate  chance  of  life,  was  denied ;  a  knot  of  red 
tape  tied  them  down. 

Mrs.  Livermore  took  in  the  case  at  a  glance,  and  presented 
herself  immediately  at  the  headquarters  of  General  Grant. 
Without  waiting  so  long  as  to  take  the  chair  he  offered  her, 
she  hastened  to  tell  her  story  in  a  few  soldierly  words,  briefly 
intimating  that  she  had  chartered  power  from  the  Sanitary 
Commission,  and  adding  :  — 

"General,  if  you  will  give  me  authority  to  do  so,  /will 
agree  to  take  those  twenty-three  wounded  men  safely 
home." 

The  General  eyed  her  in  silence  —  a  tremendous  look. 

Many  and  varied  were  the  types  of  women  who  came 
down  the  river  in  those  days  on  errands  sometimes  more 
enthusiastic  than  rationally  available.  Mrs.  Livermore  was 
a  stranger  at  headquarters,  and,  as  the  officer's  eye  asked,  "Is 
she  lying  ?  "  the  woman's  eye  silently  replied.  When  the  mute 
duel  was  over,  the  General,  still  without  comment,  called  his 
chief-of-staff. 

"  This  lady  is  Mrs.  Livermore  of  the  Sanitary  Commission. 
She  finds  twenty-three  wounded  soldiers  who  cannot  get 
home  for  lack  of  their  descriptive  lists.  She  agrees  to  take 
them  herself." 

Then  followed  the  necessary  order,  which  empowered  her 
for  her  extraordinary  venture ;  and  as  quickly  as  will  could 
act  she  was  under  way  with  her  twenty-three  soldiers. 
Their  homes  were  scattered  all  over  the  West,  but  the  trans- 
portation service  at  her  command  was  equal  to  the  emer- 
gency, and  her  pluck  to  anything.  It  had  not  occurred  to 
her,  however,  that  a  power  more  silent  and  greater  than  the 
General  could  get  her  into  difficulties  for  which  he  had  pro- 
vided no  authority ;  and  when,  the  first  day  up  the  river,  one 
very  sick  man  died,  she  had  nothing  more  or  less  to  meet 
than  the  fact  that  she  could  not  get  him  buried. 


MRS.  LlVERMORE  TRANSPORTING  TWENTY-THREE  WOUNDED  SOLDIERS  TO  THEIR  HOMES. 
THE   STEAMBOAT  CAPTAIN'S   THREAT.        2.  .  THE   MISSISSIPPI   STEAMER 
"FANNY  OGDEN"  ON  HER  WAY  WITH  SANITARY  SUPPLIES 
FOR  SUFFERING  SOLDIERS. 


MARY  A.  LIYERMORE.  401 

The  Sanitary  Commission,  to  which  she  appealed,  through 
its  nearest  agent,  was  compelled  to  reply  that  its  power 
dealt  with  the  living,  not  with  the  dead ;  that  it  had  no 
money  for  burying  men ;  that  she  must  go  to  the  govern- 
ment. But  the  government  authorities  declined  with  equal 
decision.  The  man  was  discharged.  He  was  no  longer  a 
soldier.  He  was  now  a  civilian.  The  nation  could  not  bury 
civilians.  So,  back  and  forth  in  vain  from  one  to  the  other, 
the  question  passed. 

Meantime  the  soldier  remained  un buried,  and  the  captain 
of  the  steamer,  being  Southern  in  his  sympathies,  as  most  of 
his  calling  were,  peremptorily  declared  that  if  that  man  were 
not  buried  by  sundown  his  body  should  be  put  on  the  levee 
and  left  there.  At  this,  Mrs.  Livermore,  returning  in  des- 
peration to  the  military  authorities,  besieged  them  by  argu- 
ments from  which  there  was  no  appeal.  Such  an  outrage 
would  be  the  property  of  the  newspapers  in  three  days. 
The  whole  land  would  ring  with  it.  She  presented  the  case 
in  such  colors  that  the  official  yielded,  and  agreed  to  give  the 
man  burial,  stipulating  that  the  surgeon  in  charge  of  the 
party  should  fill  out  the  necessary  blanks. 

How  tell  him  there  was  no  surgeon  in  charge?  And  the 
fact  was  the  last  thing  to  be  thought  of — that  twenty-three 
wounded  men  were  in  the  sole  care  of  one  woman  for  trans- 
portation to  their  twenty-three  several  homes  in  the  broad 
Northwest.  The  woman  left  the  military  presence  without 
remark,  herself  filled  out  the  poor  fellow's  blank, — regiment, 
company,  name,  cause  of  death,  whatever  items  she  knew, — 
and  they  were  few  enough,  —  and  after  a  moment's  desperate 
hesitation  loyally  appended  to  the  paper,  for  humanity's  sake 
and  the  country's,  M.  A.  Livermore ,  M.D.,  —  so  buried  her 
soldier  like  *a  patriot,  and  quietly  went  on  her  way  with  her 
twenty-two.  Verify  that  title,  Union  soldiers  !  M.  A.  Liv- 
ermore, Ma  Donna,  let  her  be  forever ! 

Probably  the  thing  most  closely  connected  with  her  "  army 
name "  was  the  great  Northwestern  Sanitary  Fair,  which  oc- 
curred in  Chicago  in  1863. 


402  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

This  undertaking,  in  which,  of  course,  the  labors  of  many 
women  must  not  be  forgotten  in  the  prominence  of  the  few, 
is  conceded  to  have  been  the  inspiration  of  Mrs.  Livermore. 
She  suggested,  urged,  and  carried  the  immense  experiment 
through.  She  supplied  the  faith,  the  will,  and  the  fire.  Her 
co-laborers,  at  first  timid  and  reluctant,  fell  in  with  her  pur- 
poses, and  the  thing  was  begun  and  done  as  if  failure  were  an 
impossibility  and  success  a  divine  right.  This  fair  was  the 
first  of  the  series  of  great  fairs  organized  throughout  the 
North  for  the  benefit  of  the  Commission.  It  netted  almost 
one  hundred  thousand  dollars. 

A  contributor  to  Dr.  Brockett's  "Women  of  the  Civil 
War,"  who  was  present  at  a  convention  of  the  women  of  the 
Northwest,  summoned  to  Chicago  to  consider  the  feasibility 
of  that  undertaking,  gives  forcible  testimony  to  the  remark- 
able influence  of  Mrs.  Livermore  :  "  A  brilliant  and  earnest 
speaker,  her  words  seemed  to  sway  the  attentive  throng. 
Her  commanding  person  added  to  the  power  of  her  words. 
.  .  .  As  all  know,  this  fair,  which  was  about  three  months 
in  course  of  preparation,  was  on  a  mammoth  scale,  and  was 
a  great  success ;  and  this  result  was  no  doubt  greatly  owing 
to  the  presence  of  that  quality,  which,  like  every  born  leader, 
Mrs.  Livermore  evidently  possesses,  that  of  knowing  how  to 
select  judiciously  her  subordinates  and  instruments." 

We  are  able  to  give,  in  Mrs.  Livermore's  own  words,  a 
few  clear-cut  pictures  from  her  experience  as  agent  of  the 
commission.  This,  clipped  from  a  letter  from  Louisiana,  in 
April,  1863,  says:  — 

"As  the  '  Fanny  Ogden '  was  under  orders,  and  would  be 
running  up  and  down  the  river  for  two  or  three  day^  on 
errands  for  General  Grant,  we  determined  to  accept  the  invi- 
tation of  the  Chicago  Mercantile  Battery,  encamped  at  Milli- 
ken's  Bend,  and  try  tent-life  for  a  day  or  two.  So  we  were 
put  ashore  at  the  landing,  and  in  the  fading  twilight  picked 
our  way  along  the  levee  to  the  camp.  What  a  hearty  wel- 
come was  accorded  us  !  What  a  chorus  of  cheerful,  manly, 
familiar  voices  proclaimed  the  gladness  of  the  battery  at  our 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  403 

arrival !  Forth  from  every  tent  and  '  shebang '  swarmed  a 
little  host  of  the  boys,  all  bronzed  to  the  color  of  the  v  Atlan- 
tic Monthly'  covers,  to  use  one  of  their  own  comparisons; 
all  extending  eager  hands,  .  .  .  hearty,  healthy,  impatient 
to  hear  from  home.  .  .  .  Here  they  were,  'our  boys'  of 
whom  we  took  sad  and  tearful  leave  months  ago,  when  we 
gave  them  to  God  and  our  country  at  the  altar  of  the  sanc- 
tuary, when  they  alone  were  brave,  calm,  and  hopeful.  Here 
they  were  —  the  same  boys,  but  outwardly  how  changed. 
Then  they  were  boys,  slender,  fair,  with  boyish,  immature 
faces ;  now  they  were  men,  stalwart,  fuller  and  firmer  of 
flesh,  the  fair,  sweet  boyish  look  supplanted  by  a  strong, 
daring,  resolute  expression.  .  .  ,  We  told  all  the  news,  and 
still  the  hungry  fellows  asked  for  more.  .  .  .  We  examined 
photographs  of  dear  ones  at  home.  ...  A  plain  dress-cap 
fell  from  our  travelling  basket ;  the  boys  instantly  hailed  it  as 
a  home  affair;  'it  seemed  natural  to  see  it,  as  their  mothers 
had  heaps  of  such  female  toggery  lying  around  at  home,' 
they  would  have  it  ...  and  the  cap  was  accordingly  donned, 
greatly  to  their  satisfaction.  .  .  . 

"  General  McClernand's  army  corps  is  encamped  at  Milli- 
ken's  Bend,  and  the  next  day  we  called  at  his  headquarters, 
and  informed  him  that  the  'Fanny  Ogden,'  laden  with  sanitary 
stores,  would  be  at  the  Bend  in  the  afternoon.  He  ordered 
immediate  notice  of  the  same  to  be  sent  to  every  chief  sur- 
geon of  the  regiment  or  battery,  which  brought  them  out  in 
full  force  on  the  arrival  of  the  boat.  .  .  .  The  pleasure  was 
exquisite  when  we  went  to  the  hospitals,  most  of  them  miser- 
able affairs,  intended  for  temporary  use,  and  beheld  the  grate- 
ful emotions  of  the  sufferers. 

"Ale,  eggs,  lemons,  codfish,  condensed  milk,  tea,  and  but- 
ter were  among  the  articles  we  furnished.  .  .  .  Many  insisted 
on  paying  for  them ;  they  could  hardly  be  made  to  under- 
stand that  they  were  the  gift  of  the  Northwest.  In  ward 
after  ward  we  repeated  the  story  that  the  people  had  sent 
these  supplies  to  the  Commission,  to  be  distributed  to  the 
sick  in  hospitals.  .  «  .  This  evidence  of  kind  feeling  seemed 


404  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

of  itself  to  send  a  wave  of  healing  through  the  entire  wards. 
.  .  .  f  And  so  they  don't  forget  us  down  here  ?  That's  good 
news.  We  were  afraid  from  what  we  heard  that  they  were 
all  turning  secesh,  and  that  we'd  got  to  pint  our  guns  'tother 
way,'  said  one  Missouri  boy. 

ff  And  here  let  me  say,  that  in  all  my  intercourse  with  our 
soldiers,  in  camp  and  field  and  hospitals,  in  the  East,  West, 
and  Southwest,  from  the  commencement  of  the  war  to  the 
present  time,  I  have  never  encountered  the  least  disrespect 
in  word,  manner,  tone,  or  look  from  officer  or  private.  Had 
I  been  what  the  sick  men  in  hospitals  have  so  generally  called 
me, — ' mother' — to  them  all,  their  manner  could  not  have 
been  more  wholly  unexceptionable.  I  cannot  nor  do  I  be- 
lieve any  woman  can  say  the  same  of  the  surgeons.  ...  Of 
course  there  are  noble  exceptions  to  this  statement.  .  .  .  My 
observations  have  also  forced  upon  me  the  conviction  that 
our  men  in  the  army  do  not  deteriorate  morally  as  greatly 
as  is  represented.  I  do  not  believe  they  are  worse  than  at 
home." 

She  testifies,  also,  that  of  the  uncounted  deathbeds  of  sol- 
diers which  she  has  attended,  not  one  instance  can  be  recalled 
where  the  dying  man  did  not  believe  in  immortality.  Upon 
being  asked  how  many  such  death-scenes  she  witnessed,  she 
replied  that  it  was  impossible  to  tell.  "  I  wrote  seventeen 
hundred  letters  for  soldiers  in  one  year."  Among  the  men  to 
whom  death  and  life  were  such  tremendous  facts,  she  invari- 
ably found  the  expectation  of  a  world  to  come  more  or  less 
clearly  fixed.  "  There  was  none  of  this  prevailing  indifferent- 
ism  :  this  '  I  don't  know  anything  about  it '  spirit ;  '  it  may  be 
one  way,  and  it  may  be  another ;  nobody  can  prove  it,  and 
why  should  I  trouble  myself? ' " 

She  also  says,  that  of  them  all  she  knew  but  one  who  was 
afraid  to  die.  This  was  a  moving  story.  The  end  was  near 
at  hand,  the  man  uncontrollable,  not  with  physical  so  much 
as  mental  agony.  "I  can't  die,"  he  cried.  "I  can't  die  !  I 
have  been  a  wicked  man  !  A  wicked,  wicked  man  !  I  am 
afraid  to  die." 


MARY  A.  LIYERMORE.  405 

He  flung  himself  from  side  to  side  of  the  mattress  on  which 
he  lay  upon  the  floor.  He  tossed  his  arms  wildly  and 
writhed  for  relief  from  the  soul-wound  that  hurt  so  much 
more  than  the  mangled  body. 

"He  won't  last  half  an  hour,"  said  the  surgeon,  "if  he  is 
not  quieted.  You  must  calm  him  some  way." 

The  best  was  done,  but  the  raving  continued  unchecked. 
The  man  demanded  a  minister ;  "  he  had  been  a  church-mem- 
ber once,"  he  said,  "  and  that  was  the  trouble  with  him ;  he 
must  see  a  minister."  With  great  difficulty  a  clergyman  was 
brought,  but  when  he  got  there  he  could  do  nothing  with  the 
maniac  sinner,  and  was  retreating,  baffled,  from  the  sickening 
scene,  when  Mrs.  Livermore,  who  saw  that  the  poor  fellow 
was  going,  for  want  of  a  little  nerve-control,  to  pass  on  un- 
comforted,  and  that  all  too  soon,  herself  made  a  bold  stroke. 

She  got  upon  the  mattress,  kneeling  beside  him,  and  taking 
both  his  arms,  held  them  like  iron  in  her  own.  Looking  the 
dying  man  straight  in  the  eyes,  she  sternly  said  :  "Now stop! 
Stop  this,  the  whole  of  it.  You  can  keep  quiet,  and  you 
shall.  Lie  still,  and  listen  to  what  this  man  has  to  say  to 
you." 

"  But  I'm  afraid  I've  got  to  die ! "  wailed  the  terrified 
creature,  "and  I  have  been  a  wicked  man." 

"  And  what  if  you  have  got  to  die  ? "  rang  the  womanly 
voice  which  had  melted  over  him  so  tenderly,  now  stiffened 
into  the  sternness  of  a  rebuking  mother.  "  Then  die  like  a 
man,  not  like  a  baby !  You've  sent  for  this  minister.  Lie 
still,  and  hear  what  he  has  to  say  to  you." 

Like  a  child  in  her  arms  the  man  obeyed;  the  tortured 
nerves  grew  calm ;  the  soul  gathered  itself  to  meet  its  fate 
and  its  God.  The  poor  fellow  listened  gently  and  intelli- 
gently to  the  sacred  words,  and  passed  quite  reconciled. 

Perhaps  I  cannot  better  bring  to  an  end  the  most  imperfect 
and  brief  account  which  time  allows  me  to  give  of  Mrs.  Liver- 
more's  war  record  than  by  relating  a  beautiful  story  (already 
told  in  the  "  Youth's  Companion  ") ,  which  spans,  like  a  slender 
golden  bridge,  the  distance  between  that  glorious  past  and 


406  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

this  earnest  present,  between  the  sacrifices  of  war  and  the 
consecrations  of  peace. 

Upon  a  recent  lecturing  tour,  in  Albion,  Michigan,  Mrs. 
Livermore  was  approached  after  the  evening's  lecture  by  an 
elderly  woman,  white-haired,  and  with  a  face  that  time  had 
sadly  graven. 

"Mrs.  Livermore,"  she  began  at  once,  "Do  you  remem- 
ber writing  a  letter  for  John of  the  One  Hundred  and 

Twenty-seventh  Michigan  Volunteers,  when  he  lay  dying  in 
the  Overton  Hospital  at  Memphis,  during  the  spring  of  1863, 
and  of  completing  the  letter  to  his  wife  and  mother  after  he 
had  died?" 

Mrs.  Livermore  was  forced  to  reply  that  she  could  not 
recall  the  case,  she  wrote  so  many  such  letters  during  the 
war.  The  gray-haired  woman  drew  the  letter  with  trembling 
hands  from  her  pocket.  It  had  been  torn  at  the  folds,  and 
sewed  together  with  fine  stitches  ;  it  was  greatly  worn.  Mrs. 
Livermore  recognized  her  own  hand,  and  silently  re-read  the 
forgotten  pages.  The  first  four  were  dictated  by  the  soldier, 
as  he  lay  dying  —  shot  through  the  lungs.  After  the  lips 
were  still  which  gave  the  message  to  mother  and  wife  —  those 
precious  "last  words"  on  which  the  two  had  lived  for  twenty 
years,  —  the  writer  herself  had  added  to  the  sacred  letter 
such  suggestions  as  her  sympathy  wrung  from  her,  in  consola- 
tion to  the  inconsolable. 

"I  think,"  said  the  woman,  lifting  her  worn  face  to  the 
strong  one  above  her,  "  my  daughter-in-law  and  I  would  have 
died  when  wre  heard  that  John  was  dead  but  for  that  letter. 
It  comforted  us  both,  and  by-and-by  when  we  heard  of  other 
women  similarly  afflicted,  we  sent  them  the  letter  to  read,  till 
it  was  torn  into  pieces.  Then  wre  sewed  the  pieces  together, 
and  made  copies  of  the  letter,  which  we  sent  to  those  of  our 
acquaintances  whom  the  war  bereft. 

"  But  Annie,  my  son's  wife,  never  got  over  John's  death. 
She  kept  about,  and  worked,  and  went  to  church,  but  the  life 
had  gone  out  of  her.  Eight  years  ago  she  died.  One  day, 
a  little  before  her  death,  she  said  :  — 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  407 

"  'Mother,  if  you  ever  find  Mrs0  Livermore,  or  hear  of  her,  I 
wish  you  would  give  her  my  wedding-ring,  which  has  never 
been  off  my  finger  since  John  put  it  there,  and  will  not  come 
off  till  I  am  dead.  Ask  her  to  wear  it  for  John's  sake  and 
mine,  and  tell  her  this  was  my  dying  request.' 

"I  live  eight  miles  from  here,"  added  the  woman,  "and 
when  I  read  in  the  paper  that  you  were  to  lecture  here 
to-night  I  decided  to  drive  over,  and — if  you  will  accept 
it  —  to  give  you  Annie's  ring." 

Too  much  moved  to  speak,  Mrs.  Livermore  held  out  her 
hand,  and  the  lonely  woman  put  the  ring  upon  her  finger  with 
a  fervent  and  solemn  benediction. 

From  war  to  peace,  there  may  be  as  I  say,  a  golden 
bridge  ;  or  there  must  be  a  gaping  chasm,  in  individual,  as  in 
public  story.  When  the  thrill  is  over,  when  the  stir  is 
stilled,  when  emergency  has  given  place  to  routine,  excite- 
ment and  event  to  calm  and  monotony,  then  a  life  is  put 
upon  its  true  mettle.  Peace  has  her  soldiers  no  less  than 
war.  That  is  strength  which  still  finds  in  the  leisure  of 
daily  commonplace  its  military  rank.  It  were  easy  to  suffer 
the  collapse  of  the  strong  nerve  and  hot  resolve,  and  so  sink 
into  the  mere  selfishness  of  well-earned  ease.  It  were  easier, 
perhaps,  to  become  the  victim  of  a  fatal  displeasure  with 
ordinary  conditions,  and  to  find  no  more  the  glorious  in  the 
necessary  ;  to  slide  off  into  second-rate  ideals  and  their  correl- 
ative motives,  and  pass  one's  days  in  the  fretful  inaptitude  of 
a  nature  which  has  wrung  one  supreme  hour  from  life,  and 
never  found  or  never  Sought  another. 

A  friend,  once  asked  for  material  for  Charlotte  Cushman's 
memoir,  said  :  "  I  have  no  data.  There  is  only  the  continuity 
of  love."  So,  in  dealing  with  the  subject  of  this  sketch,  we 
seem  to  have  only  the  continuity  of  power.  Any  notice  of 
Mrs.  Livermore  would  be  seriously  incomplete  which  should 
not  give  emphasis  to  her  value  in  social  movement,  .  She  has 
pre-eminently  the  record  of  a  reformer,  and  this  is  the  more 
interesting  because  the  exuberance  of  her  intensely  womanly 
nature  might  have  easily  deflected  her  course  into  quieter 


408  MARY  A.  LIVEKMO11E. 

choices.  When  the  demands  of  the  war  are  over,  her  clear 
eyes  see  the  "  duty  nearest,"  in  directions  which  still  appealed 
to  the  old  chivalrous  instincts.  Now  we  do  not  find  her  con- 
tented with  the  sewing-circle  and  the  newspaper  letter  and 
neighborhood  celebrity.  It  is  not  enough  to  relate  past  army 
exploits  to  admiring  vestries,  and  to  fold  the  hands  over  a 
pleasant  reputation  for  patriotism. 

What  is  the  next  crisis?  Who  are  the  most  defenceless? 
Where  is  the  coming  battle-field  ?  Which  is  the  authoritative 
reveille?  What  now  most  needs  the  sympathy  and  sense  of  a 
strong  woman?  ,  Who  so  keenly,  who  so  promptly  as  her 
own  sad  sex?  Who  so  darkly,  who  so  deeply  as  the  tempted 
and  the  outcast? 

One  of  the  most  touching  incidents  ever  found  in  woman's 
work  for  women  is  related  of  Mrs.  Livermore  while  she  was 
living  in  Chicago. 

One  night  while  she  was  busy  with  her  children,  a^  sharp 
ring  at  the  door  summoned  her  on  a  strange  errand.  The 
messenger  came  from  a  house  "whose  ways  take  hold  on 
death."  A  woman,  an  inmate  of  this  place,  lay  dying,  and 
had  sent  for  her,  desiring  her  presence  as  a  spiritual  adviser 
through  the  final  agony. 

"  Go,"  said  the  husband,  "you  will  be  safe  enough.  And 
I  will  see  that  the  police  look  after  you.  You'd  better 
go." 

Mrs.  Livermore  returned  the  simple  and  beautiful  answer 
"  that  she  was  putting  her  children  to  bed,  and  would  come 
as  soon  as  this  was  done." 

"Don't  wait  for  that,"  pleaded  the  messenger,  "  or  the  girl 
may  be  gone.  She's  very  low,  and  has  set  her  heart  on 
seeing  you." 

So,  without  delaying  to  hear  the  "  Amen  "  to  "  Now  I  lay 
me,"  the  mother  kissed  her  babies,  and  went  out  from  her 
Christian,  home  upon  her  solemn  errand.  She  was  received 
with  great  respect  in  the  house  of  sin.  The  poor  girl  was 
dying  of  hemorrhage  of  the  lungs  ;  she  was  far  sunken  away, 
but  in  mental  distress  that  stoutly  held  death  off.  She  be- 


A  THRILLING  INCIDENT  OF  CHICAGO  LIFE. 

1.    THE  NIGHT  SUMMONS  FOR  MRS.  LIVERMORE.        2.     AT  THE  BEDSIDE  OF  THE 
DYING  GIRL.        3.     NURSING  SOLDIERS  IN  UNION  HOSPITALS. 


MARY  A.  LIYERMORE.  409 

wailed  her  sins,  she  feared  her  future,  she  clung  to  the  pure 
woman  with  desperate  arms.  Mrs.  Livermore  got  upon  the 
bed  beside  the  girl  and  held  her  firmly. 

"  Who  are  you,  and  where  are  your  friends  ?  Can  you  tell 
me?" 

"  I'll  never  tell  you  !  I'll  never  tell  anybody.  They  don't 
know  where  I  am.  They've  advertised  for  me  all  these 
years.  My  father  and  mother  are  respectable  people.  They 
don't  know  I  care,  and  they  never  shall  know.  I  won't  dis- 
grace them  so  much  as  to  tell  you." 

The  visitor  asked  if  she  should  not  send  for  a  minister,  but 
the  girl  clung  to  her,  crying  :  — 

"  I  want  you,  you  !  I  want  nobody  but  you  !  " 

So  the  pathetic  scene  went  on  :  "  Do  you  want  me  to  pray 
for  you?"  "Can't  you  trust  in  Christ  to  forgive  your  sins? 
God  is  your  Father.  Don't  be  afraid  of  your  Father  !  Can't 
you  believe  that  He  will  save  you?  Listen,  He  is  glad  to 
save  you.  Christ  died  to  save  you" 

As  she  prayed  the  girl  interrupted  her  with  piteously  hum- 
ble cries:  "Oh,  Lord,  hear  what  she  says!"  "Yes,  God, 
listen  to  her."  "  Oh,  God,  do  !  "  "  Do,  do  !  "  —  as  one  who 
dared  not  lift  up  so  much  as  her  eyes  unto  heaven  for  herself. 
After  her  death,  which  occurred  quickly  and  quietly,  the  face 
wore,  it  was  said,  one  of  the  most  pathetic  expressions  ever 
seen  upon  the  dead,  "  as  if  she  were  about  to  break  into  tears." 
It  was  afterwards  learned  that  the  poor  creature  was  the 
daughter  of  a  Methodist  minister. 

Into  the  work  for  the  elevation  and  enfranchisement  of 
women,  and  into  the  temperance  movement  for  the  salvation 
of  men,  Mrs.  Livermore,  after  the  war  released  her,  turned 
her  leisure  and  her  force.  Both  of  these  movements  have 
found  in  her  one  of  their  ablest  champions,  and  the  leaders  in 
these  causes  know  what  singularly  reliable  influence  they 
have  found  in  her,  and  know  how  to  value  it  as  only  toilers 
in  "  causes"  can. 

Perfectly  fearless,  thoroughly  equipped,  as  strong  as  the 
hills,  and  as  sweet  as  the  sun,  she  has  sfood  serenely  in  the 


410  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

front  of  every  movement  against  oppression,  vice,  and  ignor- 
ance, with  which  she  has  identified  herself,  observing  in  her 
selection  a  wise  reserve,  which  has  given  her  influence  its 
remarkable  value.  "  Reform  "  is  a  hot-headed  charger,  drag- 
ging at  its  chariot-wheels  a  hundred  eccentricities.  Quiet 
people  look  on  warily  at  the  cranks  and  quips,  the  mixed 
motives,  the  disorder,  the  crudeness  and  rudeness,  the  ignor- 
ance and  mischief  which  often  follow  the  onrush  of  progress. 
The  term  "  agitator  "  has  crystallized  the  popular  distrust  of 
effort  in  which  there  is  so  much  more  gust  than  seems  neces- 
sary to  keep  the  weather  sweet.  One  such  sound,  sane  life 
as  Mrs.  Livermore's  does  more  to  create  public  confidence  in 
genuine  social  improvement,  and  in  the  figures  that  stand 
unselfishly  in  its  foreground,  than  it  is  possible  to  over- 
estimate. One  does  not  find  her  mixed  in  all  the  "ins  "  and 
"outs."  We  never  see  her  with  the  intellectually  maudlin 
or  the  morally  dubious.  Some  of  us,  debarred  by  circum- 
stances from  investigating  the  merits,  not  of  principles 
(which  must  be  our  own  affair),  but  of  applications,  are 
accustomed  to  depend  on  her  judgment  as  we  would  on  a 
magnet,  in  the  vexatious  decisions  which  must  be  made  by 
the  least  who  has  given  heart  and  hand  to  any  philanthropic 
or  social  movement. 

What  are  the  merits  of  this  association  ?  What  is  the  value 
of  that  step  ?  Who  compose  the  "  ring  "  behind  such  a  vote  ? 
Which  is  the  safe,  wise,  delicate  way  to  tread?  Where  is 
the  sense  of  this  thing?  From  the  study,  or  the  sick-room,  or 
the  nursery,  the  remote  or  busy  woman  looks  off,  weighing 
perhaps  conscientiously  the  value  of  her  modest  name,  or 
contribution,  and  hampered  by  her  inevitable  ignorance  of  the 
machinery  of  the  world.  At  a  few  firm  figures  she  glances 
with  assurance.  Mary  Livermore  is  one  of  these  guide- 
boards.  Her  name  on  an  appeal  is  a  synonym  for  its  wisdom. 
Her  appearance  on  the  platform  of  a  society  is  a  guarantee  of 
its  good  sense.  To  "follow  this  leader"  is  always  safe. 

Mrs.  Livermore's  labors  as  a  reformer  have  been  greatly 
facilitated,  and  of  late  years  chiefly  expressed,  through  her 


MARY   A.  LIVERMORE.  411 

career  as  a  public  speaker.  And  here  we  come  to  the  tardy 
but  magnificent  development  of  her  essential  gift.  Unques- 
tionably her  genius  is  the  genius  of  address.  She  is  one  of 
the  few  women  as  yet  come  to  the  front  of  whom  we  can 
safely  say  that  she  is  a  born  orator. 

As  is  so  often  the  case,  the  discovery  of  the  niche  for  this 
statue  came  late  in  life.  She  was  almost  fifty  VGSLYS  old  when 
the  fame  of  the  platform  found  her.  She  has  brought  to  it, 
therefore,  ripe  womanhood,  the  very  harvest  of  experience, 
the  repose  which  comes  only  when  the  past  begins  to  tip  the 
balance  against  the  future.  Her  popularity  as  a  public 
speaker  is  one  of  the  marvels  of  lyceum  annals.  Tried  by 
the  Midas  touch  which  cannot  be  escaped  as  a  test  of  success, 
it  will  be  remembered  of  her  that  during  the  year  when 
lyceum  lecturing  as  a  "  business  "  was  at  a  height  which  it 
will  never  reach  again,  she  was  one  of  four  lecturers  who 
were  most  in  demand,  and  made  the  largest  terms  with  the 
bureaus  ;  the  other  three  were  men  of  world-wide  fame. 

She  has  delivered  more  than  eight  hundred  temperance  ad- 
dresses, nearly  a  hundred  of  these  in  Boston.  She  lectures  five 
nights  a  week  for  five  months  in  the  year,  and  has  done  so 
for  many  years.  She  travels  twenty-five  thousand  miles 
yearly,  besides  keeping  vigil  late  into  the  night,  often  into 
the  morning,  to  hold  her  immense  correspondence  afloat. 
This  gives  some  idea  of  the  steady  strain  upon  brain  and 
body  which  this  woman  of  iron  and  fire  sustains. 

In  addition  to  the  regular  fulfilment  of  her  contract  with 
her  bureau,  and  the  work  as  above  described,  she  constantly 
receives,  and  almost  as  constantly  accepts,  invitations  to 
speak  on  Sunday  in  the  pulpits  of  Congregationalist,  Presby- 
terian, Methodist,  Baptist,  Unitarian,  and  Universalist 
churches,  invited  usually  by  the  ministers  of  these  churches 
to  "  deliver  her  message."  Often  this  message  is  a  temperance 
address.  Sometimes  it  is  called  a  sermon. 

Another  of.  the  demands  made  upon  her  is  from  schools, 
colleges,  and  literary  institutions  for  Commencement  and 
other  educational  addresses.  Her  summer  vacation  is  never 


412  MARY  A.  LIVERMORE. 

free  from  these  extra  labors.  Political  conventions  and  Sun- 
day-school conventions  add  their  clamor  to  the  list.  "  She  is 
always  at  work,"  a  friend  says  of  her  ;  ff  never  flags,  takes  little 
recreation."  Her  summers  are  spent  at  her  own  home  in  Mel- 
rose,  or  in  the  mountains,  or  in  Europe  with  her  husband. 

Mrs.  Livermore's  manner  as  a  speaker  is  noticeable  for  its 
dignity.  She  has  a  deep,  rich  voice,  of  remarkable  compass, 
capable  of  filling  any  audience-room,  trained,  and  flexible. 
She  begins  quietly,  but  has  a  grip  on  the  house  from  the  first. 
At  times  she  rises  to  impassioned  fervor.  There  is  no  femi- 
nine squeak  or  frivolity.  The  register  of  her  voice  is  rather 
low,  reminding  one  of  Mrs.  Kemble,  or  of  Charlotte  Cushman, 
who  said,  "All  I  inherited  from  my  grandmother  was  this 
voice.  It  was  my  capital  in  life." 

Mrs.  Livermore's  personal  appearance  adds  to  her  power 
on  the  platform.  She  is  tall  and  large,  with  a  fine  figure 
and  dignified  carriage.  She  is  eminently  well-proportioned, 
and  one  gets  a  sense  of  power  from  every  motion.  Of  her 
face,  which  is  very  fine,  quite  beyond  any  portrait  which  I 
have  seen,  it  is  not  easy  to  say  the  right  word.  Regular 
features,  and  grave,  gray  eyes,  and  the  warmest  smile  in  the 
world  stay  by  the  memory,  but  chiefly  this :  that  one  has 
seen  the  most  motherly  face  that  the  Lord  ever  made.  As 
she  pleads  for  her  own  sex,  crying  patience  with  its  weak- 
ness, and  justice  for  its  wrongs,  and  compassion  on  its  woes, 
her  expression  rises  to  one  of  inspired  solemnity,  then  melts 
into  a  strong  tenderness,  which  reminds  one  of  what  was 
said  of  the  face  of  George  Eliot,  that  she  "  looked  as  if  she 
bore  the  sorrow  of  all  the  earth." 

The  subjects  of  Mrs.  Livermore's  lectures  are  :  "What  Shall 
we  Do  with  our  Daughters  ?  "  "  Women  of  the  War  "  ;  "  Queen 
Elizabeth  "  ;  "Concerning  Husbands  "  ;  "  The  Reason  Why  "  ; 
" Superfluous  Women  ";  "Harriet  Martineau"  ;  "The  Moral 
Heroism  of  the  Temperance  Reform"  ;  "  The  Coming  Man"  ; 
"Beyond  the  Sea";  "Our  Motherland";  "The  Boy  of  To-day." 

It  is  doubtful  if  there  is  any  other  public  speaker  who  so 
wins  his  way,  or  hers,  to  the  hearts  of  their  opponents.  Many 


MARY  A.  LIVERMORE.  413 

of  her  audiences  disagree  with  Mrs.  Livermore's  views ;  few 
can  be  found  to  disagree  with  Mrs.  Livermore. 

I  remember  once  to  have  heard  her  on  the  platform  of  a 
conservative,  Calvinistic  girls'  seminary,  where  I  was  not 
sure  of  her  hearty  welcome.  She  had  lectured  in  the  village 
the  evening  before  on  some  topic  connected  with  the  political 
enfranchisement  of  women,  and  she  was  the  wife  of  a  Univer- 
salist  clergyman.  I  anticipated  that  her  reception,  though 
courteous,  might  be  a  trifle  chilly.  I  might  have  spared  myself 
my  fears.  In  five  minutes  every  woman  in  the  room  listened 
to  her  like  a  lover,  and  when,  at  the  close  of  her  talk  to  the 
girls,  she  was  invited  by  the  pious  principal  to  "lead  in 
prayer,"  who  was  there  to  ask  if  she  prayed  orthodoxy? 
She  prayed  Christianity,  and  she  took  us  with  her  to  the 
very  heart  of  Christ.  Rarely  have  I  heard  a  prayer  which 
moved  me  as  that  one  did.  She  swept  away  everything 
between  the  soul  and  God  —  herself  was  cancelled  —  she 
was  no  more  an  individual  whose  personality  impinged  on 
our  consciousness ;  she  was  an  appeal,  an  outcry  from  hu- 
manity to  Divinity.  All  our  mixed  motives,  and  shallow 
thoughts,  and  frail  feeling  went  down  before  the  power  of 
her  religious  nature  and  her  religious  life.  It  was  impossible 
to  hear  her,  and  not  say,  "That  is  the  voice  of  a  consecrated 
soul.  Take  me,  too  ;  take  me  up  thither." 

"Of  all  the  speakers  who  have  ever  been  brought  to  our 
institution,"  said  a  trustee  of  a  large  charity  at  the  north  end 
of  Boston,  "Mrs.  Livermore,  to  my  mind,  without  excep- 
tion, made  the  best  address  that  has  ever  been  made  to  our 
poor  people.  They  never  listened  to  any  one  else  in  the  way 
they  listened  to  her.  She  never  '  talked  down  '  to  them  ;  she 
always  said  'we.'  Most  speakers  say  'you'  to  such  audi- 
ences. She  never  once  forgot  herself;  it  was  always  '  we.' " 

w  I  would  pay  the  price  of  a  ticket  to  her  lecture  any 
time,"  said  a  lady,  listening  to  this  conversation,  "  to  hear 
that  woman's  voice." 

Time  urges,  the  pages  slip,  my  task  is  all  but  done,  and  I 
have  as  yet  said  nothing  of  the  domestic  life  of  this  woman 


414  MARY  A.  LIYERMORE. 

whom  the  public  delighteth  to  honor.  The  army  commis- 
sariat, the  reformer,  the  orator,  have  had  their  "three  souls" 
expressed  in  this  one  rich  life.  What  of  the  fourth,  which 
is  the  vital  one  after  all  ?  What  of  the  woman  behind  this 
power?  What  of  the  home  behind  the  career?  What  is  the 
story  beneath  the  glory  ? 

It  is  with  a  feeling  of  peculiar  pride  and  thankfulness  that 
those  who  would  fain  believe  that  public  usefulness  for  a 
woman  need  not  imply  private  uselessness,  are  able  to  point 
to  the  symmetrical  and  beautiful  domestic  history  of  one  who 
for  twenty  years  has  given  herself  so  ably  to  important  pub- 
lic services.  We  may  be  permitted  to  step  across  the  sacred 
threshold  of  what  it  is  safe  to  pronounce  one  of  the  happiest 
homes  in  the  land,  so  far  as  to  say  that  we  shall  never  find  a 
fireside  at  which  the  wife  and  the  mother  is  honored  with  more 
pride  and  devotion  than  at  this.  The  very  tone  of  the  voice 
in  which  the  materials  of  this  sketch  were  given  me,  by  the 
husband  of  "  this  great  and  good  woman,"  was  enough.  I 
needed  to  ask  no  questions .  The  manly  pride  in  womanly  use 
of  human  power  was  itself  worth  a  visit  to  that  home  to  see. 
Be  sure  that  she  who  has  "  mothered  "  half  the  land  — that  she 
who  can  mother  half  the  land  —  is  the  last  of  all  living 
women  to  put  by  the  finer  grace  of  the  dearer  life,  or  dull  in 
the  heart  of  child  or  husband  the  sacred  vision  of  the  mother 
and  the  wife. 

After  all  is  said,  it  is  true,  and  we  are  glad  it  is,  that  the 
great  natural  gifts  of  the  subject  of  this  sketch  have  been 
run  in  that  best  and  broadest  mould  which  is  given  by  the  full 
development  of  a  wholesome  natural  life. 

It  is  good  to  have  her  power,  her  wisdom,  her  influence, 
and  her  fame.  It  is  better  to  have  her  tenderness,  her  self- 
oblivion,  her  human  happiness,  and  her  home.  It  is  best 
to  know  that  she  has  been  able  to  balance  these  qualities  and 
quantities  with  a  grace  which  has  not  fallen  short  of  greatness, 
and  that  she  has  accomplished  greatness  without  expunging 
grace. 


CHAPTER  XYIII. 
LUCY    LARCOM. 

BY  MRS.  A.  D.  T.  WHITNEY. 

A  Happy  Name  — Lucy  Larcom's  Childhood  — First  Literary  Venture  — 
Kemoval  of  the  Family  to  Lowell  — Lucy's  Mill-life  —  The  Little  "Dof- 
fer"— A  Glimpse  of  the  Daily  Life  of  a  Lowell  Mill  Girl  —  The 
Lowell  "  Offering  "—First  Meeting  with  the  Poet  Whittier  —  His  Life- 
long Friendship  —  Removal  to  Illinois  —  Pioneer  Life  —  Teaching  a  Real 
"  Deestrick  "  School  —  Incidents  in  Her  Life  as  Teacher  —  Mysterious 
Disappearance  of  one  of  Her  Pupils  —  An  Amusing  Incident  —  Return 
to  Old  New  England  —  Work  as  Teacher  in  Wheaton  Seminary  —  Her 
Loyalty  During  the  War— Editing  "Our  Young  Folks"— Work  that 
will  Endure. 

UT  what  is  her  real  name  ?  " 
"That." 

"  Lucy  Larcom  ?  I  always  thought  it  was  her 
pen-name." 

"  So  it  is  ;  and  her  birth-name  ;  and  her  heart- 
and-soul  name,  also.  I  fancy  it  needs  not  to  be 
changed  much  into  her  heaven-name." 

I  suppose  I  have  more  than  a  score  of  times 
been  the  respondent  in  some  colloquy  like  the 
above,  in  regard  to  my  friend,  Lucy  Larcom ; 
though  I  do  not  remember  ever  adding  what  I  have  added 
now,  about  heart  and  soul  and  heaven.  Yet  her  name  has 
always  seemed  to  me  one  of  those  born  and  baptismal  appel- 
lations which  hold  a  significance  and  a  prophecy.  Her  name 
is  a  reminder  of  herself,  and  herself  of  her  name.  I "  s'pect," 
like  Topsy,  that  they  must  needs  have  "  gro wed  "  together. 
"Lucy," — the  light;  "Larcom,"  —  the  song-bird  haunt ;  the 
combe,  or  valley-field  of  larks.  For  it  is  no  great  stretch  of 
supposition,  but  a  clear  probability,  that  Lark-combe  may 
have  been  the  origin  of  the  patronymic. 

26  415 


416  LUCY  LARCOM. 

She  sings ;  and  she  sings  of  the  morning  and  of  the  light. 
She  is  Lucy  Larcom. 

She  was  born  in  the  pleasant  old  town  of  Beverly,  on  the 
northeastern  coast  of  Massachusetts ;  and  a  great  part  of 
her  life  has  been  lived,  and  much  of  her  work  done,  in  that 
corner  of  the  old  Bay  State,  to  which,  with  the  strongest 
home  love  and  instinct,  she  clings  at  this  day.  Taking  the 
century  as  a  year,  she  was  born  at  the  end  of  its  May.  She 
belongs  to  its  bloom,  and  prime,  and  summer-tide ;  she  is 
passing  along  through  the  glory  of  its  harvest,  and  her  life  is 
rich  and  ripe  and  bright  in  it,  and  the  days  are  yet  long,  and 
the  leaf  unfallen.  If  souls  were  grouped  upon  the  planet  as 
they  are  in  the  celestial  latitudes  she  would  belong  at  its 
equator.  Growth  and  change  may  illustrate  themselves  in 
such,  but  there  shall  never  be  with  them  a  locked-up  winter 
or  a  polar  night. 

She  was  the  next  to  the  youngest  of  a  family  of  eight  sis- 
ters ;  and  the  homes  about  her  that  built  up  the  quaint  streets 
and  lane  ways  of  the  really  New-English  village,  —  reminding 
one,  as  it  greatly  does,  or  did  then,  of  such  villages  of  Old 
England  as  Miss  Mitford  writes  her  pictures  of, —  were  full 
of  neighbor  children.  In  the  lanes  and  field-places,  they  all 
played  and  grew  merrily  together ;  she,  as  she  expresses  it, 
having  "  run  wild  there  under  wholesome  Puritanic  restric- 
tions." 

She  played  "Lady  Queen  Anne,"  "Mary  of  Matanzas," 
"  Open  the  Gates  as  High  as  the  Sky,"  and  all  the  pretty  old 
ring  and  romp  and  forfeit  games  of  the  primitive  time.  She 
had  the  charmed  surrounding  which  met  and  helped  to  shape 
her  nature  ;  dwelling  between  the  hill,  the  river,  and  the  sea. 
Up  the  rocky  height  that  rose  from  before  her  father's  door, 
and  looked  toward  the  ocean,  she  used  to  climb  in  such 
dreams  as  accompany  the  child  whose  fancy  and  spirit-eyes 
are  opening ;  she  found  some  "  enchanted  flower  "  ;  she  heard 
some  secret  from  a  bird  ;  she  caught  glimpses  of  a  glory-land 
in  some  still,  shining  sunset ;  and  she  shut  up  these  things 
and  pondered  them  in  her  heart.  To  balance  and  leaven  all 


LUCY    LARCOM. 


LUCY   LARCOM.  419 

this,  she  was  systematically  and  conscientiously  nourished 
from  the  Bible  and  the  shorter  catechism ;  and  she  is  glad, 
to-day,  of  both  sides  of  her  training. 

She  read,  as  children  had  to  read  in  those  days,  and  in  her 
simple  circumstances,  that  which  she  could  find.  She  lived, 
alternately,  and  almost  indifferently,  in  the  "  Pilgrim's  Pro- 
gress "  and  the  "  Scottish  Chiefs"  ;  she  got  hold  of  Milton,  and 
tasted  the  sweetness  of  his  "  Paradise,"  and  exulted  in  the  glory 
of  the  "  Heavenly  Hierarchies  "  ;  she  dipped  and  drank  already 
at  the  springs  of  that  old  English  literature  which  has  always 
been  her  study  and  delight,  and  from  which  she  has  dealt  so 
largely  in  her  ministries  of  teaching  to  others.  She  always 
had  in  her  the  elements  of  receptivity  and  assimilative  power, 
and  of  outgiving  impulse  and  power  of  application,  which 
have  made  her  the  teacher  and  the  worker  in  the  world  that 
it  is  her  life  to  be.  She  began,  even  at  this  early  time, 
to  shape,  in  rude,  simple,  childish  fashion,  her  receptions 
and  assimilations.  She  made  verses,  and  now  and  then  was 
found  out  in  making  them. 

At  seven  years  old  she  secretly  wrote,  illustrated  with 
crude  water-colors,  and  published,  —  to  herself,  —  her  first 
work ;  a  manuscript  volume  of  little  stories  and  poems. 
After  enjoying  it  perhaps  as  long  as  the  dear  public  often 
enjoys  what  is  done  for  it  in  this  way,  she  one  day  solemnly 
consigned  it,  through  a  deep,  chasmy  crack  in  the  old  garret, 
to  the  piecemeal  criticism  of  the  rats  and  mice ;  and  thence, 
in  the  natural  order,  to  oblivion. 

After  her  father's  death  the  home  at  Beverty  was  broken 
up.  Mrs.  Larcom  turned  her  thoughts  toward  Lowell,  then 
opening  its  opportunities,  in  the  wise  and  provident  way  in 
which  that  field  of  life  and  labor  was  opened  to  the  women  of 
the,  country  who  would  come  and  work.  Girls  were  wanted, 
and  were  flocking  there  for  employment  in  the  mills.  Homes 
were  wanted,  also,  in  consequence.  Good,  motherly  house- 
keepers,—  not  common  boarding-mistresses, —  were  sought, 
and  accepted  only  with  the  best  credentials,  by  the  corpora- 
tion, to  occupy  its  houses  and  take  care  of  the  operatives. 


420  LUCY  LAKCOM. 

Lucy's  mother, — mother  of  many  girls, —  was  just  one  such. 
She  chose  the  work  and  went. 

Here, — being  then,  at  the  beginning,  ten  years  old, —  she 
"  helped  her  mother,"  in  the  intervals  between  her  hours  of 
school,  "in  the  household  work."  It  began  as  it  has  kept  on. 
In  her  woman-childhood  she  is  still,  in  the  great,  beautiful 
world-sense  a  "  helper  in  the  household  work." 

It  was  after  two  or  three  years  of  school-going  and  the 
helping  at  home  that  she  began  mill- work,  among  the  very 
youngest  of  those  employed, — a  little  ff  doffer  "  ;  taking  off 
empty  bobbins  and  putting  on  full  ones ;  this  was  at  once  the 
monotony  and  the  significance  of  her  first  labors ;  between 
whiles  she  had  her  recreations  with  her  mates,  —  her  quiet 
little  hidings,  also,  in  the  dreamland  that  always  followed  and 
encompassed  her,  and  in  whose  light  the  objects  and  surround- 
ings of  her  actual  daily  life  took  an  apparition  and  meaning 
unguessed,  perhaps,  in  the  merely  workaday  world  wherein 
others  half  lived  at  her  side,  with  whom  no  veil  was  lifted. 
Here,  as  in  her  earlier  childhood,  she  wove  into  words  her 
visions,  made  verses,  told  herself  stories.  She  must  have 
drawn  largely  to  herself  from  all  that  went  on  about  her  in 
that  community  of  young  woman-life,  which  even  to  us  who 
only  hear  about  and  imagine  it,  carries  such  a  charm  of  in- 
terest and  wealth  of  suggestion  to  the  thought.  There  is 
something  in  the  community-idea  which  takes  a  kind  of  heav- 
enly hold, — and  I  think  it  was  meant  to  do  so, — of  all  minds 
not  separated  and  debased  into  some  poor,  covetous  self- 
seeking.  The  very  fact  in  our  history  of  this  Lowell  life, 
as  it  then  was,  tells  its  story  of  the  changed  and  changing 
age  in  which  we  find  ourselves  to-day,  taken  further  and  fur- 
ther off  from  such  possibility.  Where  now  do  we  find  the 
capitalist,  planning  his  railroad  which  is  to  open  up  new 
country,  or  his  company  corporation  which  is  to  develop  a 
new  resource  or  apply  a  new  invention, —  sitting  down,  as 
did  Francis  Lowell  and  Nathan  Appleton,  to  weigh  and  con- 
sider first  the  question  of  what  it  will  all  be  to  the  humanity 
concerned  <and  brought  together,  or  any  way  affected  by  the 


LUCY   LARCOM.  421 

work  ?  But  this  is  not  the  place  to  follow  out  that  suggestion 
into  discussion  of  all  the  great  problem  of  investment  and 
interest,  — financially,  politically,  £nd  socially.  It  just  crops 
up  by  the  way,  as  we  are  reminded  that  that  life  of  the 
Lowell  mill-girl  can  hardly  ever  be  lived  over  again,  until  in 
some  new  moral  as  well  as  mechanical  phase  of  our  history 
we  come,  out  of  our  present  rush  and  fever  of  miracle  and 
money-making,  to  far-off  fresh  and  better  beginnings. 

Lucy  Larcom,  growing  into  girlhood,  was  now,  however, 
in  this  phase  and  opportunity. 

Companionship.  In  one  way  or  another,  that  is  what  fills 
our  human  need.  We  filter  it  into  friendships ;  we  sift  it 
down  into  inmost  communions,  as  we  live  and  make  our  nat- 
ural selections  ;  but  nevertheless,  the  magnetism  of  the  multi- 
tude remains,  a  power  and  a  delight  to  human-loving  spirits. 
A  great  many  together  of  like  pursuits,  condition, —  a  king- 
dom under  one  rule, —  from  children  at  school,  up  through 
all  social  formations, —  all  organizations,  scientific,  artistic, 
benevolent,  enterprising,  religious, — to  the  gathering  into 
the  great  kingdom  at  last  of  the  multitude  that  no  man  can 
number, — we  find  ourselves  made,  not  for  solitude  but  for 
association.  It  is  not  good  for  anybody  to  be  alone. 

Doubtless,  then,  there  was  a  charm  in  that  living,  in  the 
house  in  the  "  red-brick  block,  with  a  green  door  and  green 
window-blinds ;  the  third  in  a  row  of  four  brick  blocks, 
each  the  exact  counterpart  of  the  other."  In  the  family 
order,  where  the  daughters  and  the  mill-girls  who  joined  and 
made  up  the  household  kept  their  hours  and  their  pleasant 
habits  under  home  rules  together ;  the  breakfasts  by  lamp- 
light, the  morning  labor  in  the  mills,  the  noon-spell,  the  leis- 
ure evenings,  when  books  and  work  were  brought  forth,  and 
there  was  the  cheerful  gathering  round  the  long  tables  ;  when 
they  "made  and  mended,  wrote  and  studied";  when  they 
told  each  other  bits  of  their  earlier  histories  before  their  his- 
tories had  thus  run  alongside  ;  when  the  mountains  and  the 
forests  and  the  sea  brought  their  flavors  and  their  harmonies 
together  in  the  talk  of  the  different  homes  and  up-bringings, 


422  LUCY  LARCOM. 

and  so  a  whole  world  was  rounded  out,   to  the  shaping  of 
which  each  experience  and  nature  lent  material  and  touch. 

Then  the  sweet  helpfulnesses  and  charities  among  them- 
selves,—  the  double  work  done  by  the  well  ones  that  a 
feeble  one  might  rest ;  the  mutual  spur  and  lift  of  mental 
endeavor ;  the  Sunday  repose  and  church-going,  and  Sun- 
day freshness  of  attire,  in  which  each  enjoyed,  while  she 
contributed  her  own  to  the  happy  holy-day  aspect  of  the 
time :  — 

"  The  churchward  crowd 

That  filled  brick-paven  streets  a